Ex-Jets looking for work as action gets underway in Canada

If you're getting pro football withdrawal symptoms, it's easy to overlook the fact that the CFL gets underway soon. Preseason began on Thursday night and, as ever, there are plenty of former Jets who are either looking to win a role or returning to build on their previous success.

The biggest story involving an ex-Jet is quarterback Ricky Ray, who retired last month after 16 seasons and multiple championships. The 39-year old was in camp with the Jets in 2004 but didn't make their roster. Over 60,000 yards later, he's one of the more interesting what-if questions in recent team history.

Although Ray is out of the league, there's still some familiar names on teams as preseason gets underway. Here are a selection from each team (apart from the Edmonton Eskimos, who don't have any ex-Jets on their roster):

BC Lions

DB Keon Lyn

Lyn is the only Lions player with a connection to the Jets. He played for the Jets in preseason in 2015 but isn't an impact player with the Lions.

Calgary Stampeders

RB Terry Williams, RB Romar Morris

Williams, who comes from the same college as Bruce Harper (Kutztown State), was only with the Jets very briefly in preseason in 2016. He's made a name for himself in Canada, though, as he was third in the league in kick return yards last year.

Morris played for the Jets in preseason in both 2016 and 2017 but failed to make much of an impression. He did a decent job returning kicks last year though.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

DE Julian Howsare, DE Lorenzo Mauldin, DE Jamaal Westerman

Howsare, who was the Jets' starting fullback a few years ago, is now back to his old position as an edge defender. He had three sacks last year.

He'll compete for time with 2015 third-round pick Maudlin, who is new to Canada, and Westerman, who had 4.5 sacks in three seasons with the Jets. Westerman is now 34 and his production has been dwindling. He had 17 sacks in 2015, but none in 10 games last season.

Montreal Alouettes

WR TJ Graham, OL Jarvis Harrison, WR DeVier Posey

Graham's 67-yard touchdown pass from Mike Vick sparked the struggling Jets to an upset win over the Steelers in 2014. However, his Jets career won't be remembered for that...

Harrison was a fifth-round pick in Mike Maccagnan's first draft with the Jets, but his biggest contribution to the Jets was that he was Disgruntled Jets Fan's avatar for a few seasons.

As for Posey, the Jets picked him up a few rounds later in the same draft along with two day-three picks when they moved down 12 spots in the third round. He never caught on with the Jets but has been good in Canada. He had seven touchdown catches in 2017 and then, in the Grey Cup, he caught a 100-yard touchdown pass in the snow. You read that correctly.

Ottawa Redblacks

RB Mossis Madu

Madu has developed into a solid but unspectacular runner at the CFL level having failed to make the Jets 53-man roster in 2013.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

WR Emmanuel Arceneaux, WR KD Cannon, WR Shaq Evans, DT Jeremy Faulk, QB/DB Nick Marshall, OL Dakoda Shepley

Evans, who is one of the "Idzik 12", found his way up north last year and had a decent first year with 50 catches, albeit no touchdowns. Cannon, an undrafted free agent and former favorite target of Bryce Petty, failed to impress the Jets in 2017 and is now trying to make it in the CFL.

They'll compete with Arceneaux, who didn't even make it to OTAs when he signed for the Jets in 2013 but has been a three-time CFL all-star since then.

Marshall is the former Auburn dual threat quarterback who converted to cornerback to try to get into the NFL and played in eight regular season games with the 2016 Jets, recording five tackles. Canada is made for him. Where else could you get seven rushing touchdowns and two pick-sixes in the same season as he did last year?

Faulk and Shepley were both undrafted free agent signings that played for the Jets in preseason in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Toronto Argonauts

LB Micah Awe, LB Frank Beltre, DE Freddie Bishop, RB Brandon Burks, OL Will Campbell, DE Troy Davis, WR Chandler Worthy

Toronto has the biggest selection of ex-Jets but they're not the most interesting group.

Bishop is making his return to Canada where he had 11 sacks in 2015 and got off to a good start with a sack in the first preseason game. He played in nine games in his two seasons as a Jet, recording 19 tackles and no sacks. He did recover a fumble, though.

Davis and Burks both saw brief regular season action with the Jets in the past and Campbell was a sixth-round pick in John Idzik's first draft.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

DL Brandin Bryant, OL Geoff Gray, WR/KR/PR Lucky Whitehead

The most notable thing about Bryant is probably that he once retweeted a JetsFix scouting report. Gray was on the Jets' practice squad for a while but never played for them.

Whitehead had a good chance to be the return man in each of the last two seasons, but injuries damaged his chances. Ultimately, he was on the roster for just one game in his two seasons and was not active that day. His style of play could make him very successful in Canada, though.


On the whole there aren't many star players in the CFL with ties to the Jets right now. None of the CFL all-stars from last year have been on a Jets roster, although running back William Powell did almost sign for the Jets following a workout a few years ago.

Two other players who worked out for but never signed with the Jets - quarterbacks Dane Evans and McLeod Bethel-Thompson - are both trying to win a starting job, although it looks more likely they'll be reserves to start the season.

Finally, wide receiver Jalen Saunders, another Idzik draft pick who had a thousand-yard season in 2017, was released a few weeks ago despite having signed an extension in December so he is currently without a team.