The Montreal Alouettes more or less admitted defeat in the 2016 campaign today, releasing receivers Duron Carter and Kenny Stafford. Because their release was after the trade deadline, they can sign with new teams, but the teams cannot add them to the 44-man roster until next season.
Carter was putting up good numbers this year, his first year back after playing 2015 with the Indianapolis Colts. The one major mark against him this year was his altercation with Ottawa Redblacks coach Rick Campbell, when Carter barged into Campbell while celebrating a touchdown. However, that was months ago; if that was a factor in his release, it was discipline a long time coming.
Stafford, meanwhile, was having a less than stellar season. Injuries have kept him on the sidelines a few times, and he’s only picked up 215 receiving yards in 2016.
In both cases, Montreal is of course waving the white flag for the year and clearing out some unneeded salary. The question is why do this with Carter and Stafford.
While 2016 is more or less over for the Als, 2017 is not far from starting. The team is not exactly overstocked with offensive weaponry, with only Nik Lewis and the injured S.J. Green as star receivers. With the quarterbacking situation still in doubt (as it has been since Calvillo’s retirement), clearing house with the downfield players seems premature.
It’s possible that general manager and ex-head coach Jim Popp is playing three-dimensional hyperchess and we mortals just can’t see the long-term wisdom of these moves.
But Montreal fans must be getting tired of the team’s unending string of bewildering roster moves. Maybe they’ll have a great free agency season. Maybe they’ve got some off-season moves that we don’t see coming. Maybe they’re banking on a high position in the draft.
What’s certain is that there’s no reason for the home team fans to show up at Molson Stadium again this year, because the team has thrown in the towel.