Hamilton Tiger-Cats trade veteran D-back back to Winnipeg, add two young D-linemen

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Published October 4, 2022 at 12:13 pm

It is out with the Alden, in with some guys who could be part of the nucleus of the defensive line for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Veteran defensive back Alden Darby Jr. will get a chance to win another Grey Cup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after a trade on the eve of the league trade deadline. The Tiger-Cats announced today they have sent Darby, 30, was with the Blue Bombers for their 2021 Grey Cup run before signing in Hamilton, back to the Blue Bombers. In return, 25-year-old rookie defensive lineman Cedric Wilcots II, who has played in 10 games this season, will don the black and gold.

Wilcots is one of two American D-linemen en route to Hamilton. McKinley Williams, a 24-year-old defensive tackle who was recently cut by the National Football League’s Indianapolis Colts, has signed on with Hamilton.

The moves might read as Hamilton (4-10) looking toward 2023 and evaluating potential contributors for 2023. The Tiger-Cats are extant, mathematically, in the East Division playoff race. However, they are six points adrift of second-place Montréal Alouettes (7-7) with four games remaining. Their opponent on Friday, the Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-9), appear to be in a freefall, but are in position to wrest the final East playoff berth as a cross-over team, if they can finish with an outright better record than Hamilton.

Darby, a former CFL West Division all-star, has been in and out of the Tiger-Cats starting lineup this season. He also helped the Toronto Argonauts win the Grey Cup in 2017.

The CFL trade deadline is at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Wilcots, a 25-year-old rookie, has been a backup with Winnipeg, registering two defensive tackles. The 6-foot-3, 249-pound Dallas native has some resilience in finding a foothold in the Canadian Football League.

The Dallas native and New Mexico State Aggies alumnus was released at the end of training camp in 2021 by the Blue Bombers, who are deep on the edge of the defensive line, where Jackson Jeffcoat is regarded as one of the league’s best pass rushers. Wilcots took a second try and made the Blue Bombers roster for this season.

At New Mexico State, Wilcots tallied 94 total tackles, 18½ quarterback sacks, four pass deflections and four forced fumbles across 35 games from 2017-19.

Williams is a 6-foot-4, 285-pound native of Miramar, Fla., who played his college ball with the Syracuse Orange. (Syracuse is the alma mater of Hamilton-Burlington football notables Bernie Custis and Tony Gabriel; former NFL star quarterback Donovan McNabb, the uncle of Hamilton pro athletes Darnell Nurse, Kia Nurse, and Sarah Nurse, starred at Syracuse.)

Williams played 61 games across six seasons (2016-21) at Syracuse, registering 122 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss, four sacks and one fumble recovery.

Syracuse is a Power 5-level team in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). New Mexico State is a Group of 5-level independent.

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