The Edmonton Eskimos have been relatively quiet thus far in free agency. However, the team has recently brought in Travon Van and Aston Whiteside, two defending Grey Cup champions, to bolster their roster.
Travon Van and Aston Whiteside to Rejoin Maas in Edmonton
Ottawa Redblacks running back Travon Van and defensive end Aston Whiteside have signed on to be reunited with head coach Jason Maas, offensive co-coordinator in Ottawa in 2015.
Van will most likely play back up to John White, who was the lead ball carrier for Edmonton last year. White set out on pace for a 1,000 yard season, but injuries set him back at a couple of points in the season. Travon will also have to vie for carries with free agent signee Kendial Lawrence, the former Hamilton Tiger-Cat and Saskatchewan Roughrider. Lawrence has yet to solidify a role in the league which should give Van the number two position at back. His signing also makes the departure of Shakir Bell a foregone conclusion.
What makes the new Eskimo backfield dangerous is their ability to catch passes from the backfield. White had 58 receptions last season for almost 500 yards. Van, in limited action, had 19. While that number might not be overly impressive, the film shows a different story. Van is no stranger to a crowded running back situation as he split time with the likes of Mossis Madu, Kienan LaFrance, and Nic Grigsby.
Whiteside will join a stout Edmonton defence, which his team faced in the Eastern final last season. The Eskimos allowed 1,570 yards on the ground and 5,276 through the air. Playing parts of three seasons with the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa, he has a career total of 12 sacks.
Both players will suit up for the team that beat them in the 103rd Grey Cup, a contest that ended in a 26-20 victory in favor of the Eskimos over the Redblacks.