“We don’t want to lose Sam, we rather have him with us”: Emilus in Roughriders plans for 2024

2023 was a breakout season for Saskatchewan Roughriders Wide Receiver Samuel Emilus, and it has caught the attention south of the border.

In his sophomore season with the green and white, the 26-year-old played in all 18 regular season games, surpassing the 1,000 receiving yard mark (1,097) and had six touchdowns.

WR Samuel Emilus Photo: Blaine Weyland

Although Emilus has a contract with Saskatchewan for the 2024 season, he has also worked with several National Football League teams (NFL), including the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and the Green Bay Packers.

This week, NFL teams are now eligible to sign players from the Canadian Football League to future player contracts as the NFL regular season ends. The Atlanta Falcons signed Montreal Alouettes receiver Austin Mack to a contract on Monday.

Will Emilus join Mack in the NFL next season? That will remain a possibility until the window for NFL teams to sign CFL players closes in February.

Roughriders General Manager Jeremy O’Day said at the league’s winter meetings in Nashville that the team isn’t planning on Emilus leaving the Roughriders for an NFL opportunity but adds there’s always a possibility.

O’Day noted that is something they go through until a player receives a contract offer, which has not happened for Emilus up to this point.

“We don’t want to lose Sam, we rather have him with us.”

According to O’Day, Emilus’s intangible qualities are what make him stand out as a receiver.

“It’s not just that he’s been productive, the fact that he’s able to attack the ball when the ball is in the air.” He added, “a guy that competes for the ball when it’s in the air, really does things away from the ball that a lot of normal people wouldn’t see.”

The Roughriders general manager highlighted the physicality and the run-blocking skills of Emilus as reasons that teams in the NFL would be interested in him,

A Saskatchewan wide receiver generating interest south of the border is nothing new. Last year, Kian Schaffer-Baker attended several workouts with NFL teams but didn’t end up signing with anyone. Eventually, the Canadian receiver decided to sign a new contract with the Roughriders.

Schaffer-Baker attended a workout with the Denver Broncos in December along with Emilus and several other CFL players.

When American scouts are looking to recruit players like Emilus, there is usually little interaction between them, according to O’Day.

“They don’t actually really reach out too much. I think it’s really about if you know someone in the organization or if someone our personnel department knows someone, they may ask a little bit, but in general they don’t ask a ton about them.”

A month before free agency begins, it appears that Canadians are a big part of the plan for the Roughriders at wide receiver. Along with Emilus and Schaffer-Baker under contract, the green and white also have Brayden Lenius and Mitch Picton through the 2024 season.

While it looks like the Roughriders could start at least three Canadians at the position, with the potential interest Emilus is receiving, plans can always change.

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