Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Cats Score Big in Deal With Esks

It turned out to be a pretty eventful Tuesday for the Tabbies, now didn't it?

Just a few hours after announcing that Jeff Reinebold would be the team's new special teams coordinator, the Ti-Cats went out and completed a five-player trade with the Edmonton Eskimos, bringing offensive lineman Greg Wojt, linebacker Simoni Lawrence and quarterback Jeremiah Masoli to Hamilton in exchange for linebacker Nathan Kanya and the rights to offensive lineman Carson Rockhill.

The best player that went either is Wojt. Wojt is a proven commodity and a bona-fide starter, so getting him while not giving up a starter themselves is a great move. Wojt was a West Division all-star in 2011 and has experience at both guard and tackle (though his natural position is guard). Adding Wojt means the Cats have the potential to start four Canadians on the offensive line, which would give the team tremendous ration flexibility.

The addition of Lawrence means there is a bit of a logjam at linebacker. Lawrence played some middle linebacker last year for the Eskimos when J.C. Sherritt was injured, so one has to wonder if this deal spells the end of Rey Williams' time with the Ti-Cats. The odds seem to be against Williams returning for a third season, despite being named an all-star his first two years in Black & Gold. Lawrence is eight years younger than Williams and comes much cheaper. While I like Williams, Lawrence might be a wiser investment. I suspect that No. 9's time with the Ti-Cats will be coming to an end.

Masoli is interesting because of his collegiate pedigree at the University of Oregon. He ran Chip Kelly's fast-paced spread offense and that type of training could translate to CFL success. Masoli will be in a battle for a quarterback spot with fellow second-year player Dan LeFevour. If the Ti-Cats decide not to bring in a veteran to be Henry Burris' backup, Masoli could enter the 2013 season as Hamilton's No. 2 quarterback. I like Masoli's potential to be a decent starting quarterback in the future.

What the Ti-Cats gave up isn't insignificant, but they are definitely parts that they could afford to send elsewhere. Kanya is a very good special teamer, but he was likely never going to be a starter for the Cats, so using him in a deal to get two potential 2013 starters and possibly a future starting quarterback isn't a big loss. And while Rockhill is considered a tremendous prospect, the Cats have a lot of non-import offensive linemen in the pipeline, so sending Rockhill to Edmonton doesn't cripple them long-term along the offensive line.

From all angles, this trade is a good one for the Tabbies. They were able to get quite a bit and didn't give up a lot. If everything works out, the Ti-Cats are a better team today than they were yesterday.

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