The Montreal Alouettes didn’t beat the 12:00 p.m. deadline but they did end up locking up offensive tackle Josh Bourke to a new two-year contract.
Bourke was the one free agent the Alouettes had that was not obviously replaceable. The 31 year old was one of the most coveted free agents available once noon hit and teams had their choice of available free agents.
Bourke is from Windsor, Ontario and played his college football at Grand Valley State. He was the East Division’s Outstanding Lineman in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, he was the also the CFL’s Most Outstanding Lineman.
“Big signing here,” said Alouettes general manager and head coach Jim Popp. “Not only does this signing allows us to maintain one of our all-important non-import starters, but Josh has been an anchor on our O-line as well as a leader both on and off the field for the last number of years.”
Also of note, Shea Emry is leaving the Alouettes, signing a contract with the Toronto Argonauts. The contract was first reported by TSN’s Farhan Lalji and has since been confirmed by several sources.
Emry’s loss is significant, but somewhat mellowed by the fact that the Alouettes were able to lock up Bourke and linebackers Brouillette and Hebert earlier in the off-season. One would expect Popp to be continuing to look for upgrades on both sides of the ball.
The Alouettes have now lost three starters from last year’s defence. Emry, Moton Hopkins in the expansion draft to Ottawa and the team released cornerback Byron Parker.
There are also rumours circulating around Arland Bruce. Reports say that Bruce may be released by the Alouettes. It is hard to believe that the Alouettes will go silent after what Bruce said about Missouri linebacker Michael Sam who recently came out as being gay. The league has already announced a fine for Bruce and one other player for their comments.