What to make of the release of Randee Drew

The Eskimos announced today that they have released non-import defensive back Randee Drew. No details on the release were provided by the club, so the guessing game on the reason for the roster move is left up to the fans and media. It will be interesting to see if either Danny Maciocia or Ritchie Hall address the situation in the next day or so.

The move is a little curious given the lack of depth in the Eskimos secondary. Drew was rehabbing a shoulder injury, so barring a prognosis that would see the defensive back out for the season, keeping a CFL veteran on the injured reserve at a position where the Eskimos can use more depth would not be the worst thing in the world. Drew has proven that he can start in the league, although he hasn’t recorded an interception since his rookie year in 2007 as a member of the Montreal Alouettes.

If he was healthy, it could just be that management figured that they didn’t need the veteran on the roster. They are confident in the players that they have and are willing to run the risk of letting Drew seek employment elsewhere.

The move may also be salary cap driven, as most CFL teams seem to have to make every dollar count in a season. Without knowing the details of the CBA and how it pertains to injured players, it’s tough to say if this could be a legimate reason for releasing Drew. If he was cleared for active duty, then clearing out both his roster spot and salary cap hit would be legitimate reasons for the release.

The move is a little curious in it’s timing and hopefully the Eskimos will provide further details in the near future. With so little depth at the position, having that one experienced player can make a huge difference if one of the starters goes down to injury. The transaction leaves CFL rookie import Weldon Brown as the only backup at defensive back behind starters Jason Goss, Chris Thompson, Lenny Walls, and Lawrence Gordon.

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