Roughriders open CFL free agency with seven signings on Tuesday

The Riders have added some local flavour to the team.

Just after CFL free agency got started, the team announced they have signed offensive lineman Evan Johnson to a contract for the 2021 season.

The Regina native, who played for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, was taken in the first round of the 2017 draft by Ottawa. He ended up playing 44 games for the Redblacks and is expected to perhaps take the spot of Dakoda Shepley at right guard.

Johnson, who was on the SportsCage Tuesday, said he was always hoping to land with Saskatchewan, being a Regina native and U of S Huskie alumni.

The 26-year-old brings with him a ton of versatility.

“I’ve always tried to make it a priority to be able to play and know what everyone else is doing on the field,” Johnson said. “Being able to play left or right guard and tackle and centre if needed was always important to me growing up,” Johnson said.

Johnson wasn’t the only signing for the Green and White.

Canadian linebackers and twin brothers Justin and Jordan Herdman-Reed are heading to Riderville.

Jordan comes to Saskatchewan after spending the last three seasons in B.C. The 26-year-old played 52 games for the Lions, making 95 defensive tackles, 44 special teams tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble. He was selected in the seventh round (60th overall) by the Lions in the 2017 CFL Draft.

Justin joins the team after signing with Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2020. Prior to signing with the Ti-Cats, Justin played 40 games with the Toronto Argonauts registering 43 defensive tackles, 26 special teams tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles. He was selected by the Argos in the seventh round (54th overall) of the 2017 CFL Draft.

The team has also signed defensive backs Lorenzo Jerome and Godfrey Onyeka.

Jerome played seven games for the Stampeders in 2019 while Onyeka, a Canadian, played 27 games over two seasons in Edmonton after being selected in the 2nd round of the 2018 draft.

American linebacker Larry Dean has also been locked in for the 2021 season. He joins the Roughriders after returning to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2020.

Dean spent most of his career with the Ti-Cats but played the 2019 season with the Edmonton Football Team. He has not missed a single regular season game, playing in 72 over the last four seasons. Over that time, he has earned 365 defensive tackles, eight special teams tackles, six sacks, three interceptions – including one he returned for a touchdown – 16 pass knockdowns and five forced fumbles. He also played in five playoff games.

Dean is a three-time divisional all-star (2017-19), was the East Division’s nominee for Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2018 and was Edmonton’s nominee for Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2019.

After much speculation, Micah Johnson is back in Saskatchewan on a one-year deal.

Johnson spent the 2019 season with the Roughriders playing in 15 games and making 26 defensive tackles and four sacks before signing with the B.C. Lions in 2020. Prior to coming to the Riders, the 32-year-old spent six seasons with the Calgary Stampeders.

Over 96 career games, Johnson has registered 184 defensive tackles, 45 quarterback sacks, two interceptions and six forced fumbles. He has also played six playoff games and three Grey Cup games.


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