February 22nd, 2024

Sources: Shiltz, Walker agree in principle to deals with Calgary Stampeders

By The Canadian Press on February 7, 2024.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Matt Shiltz (18) throws a pass while under pressure by Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Folarin Orimolade (7) during second half CFL action in Toronto, on Sunday, June 18, 2023. Shiltz appears headed to the West Division.According to a league source, the veteran American quarterback has agreed in principle to a one-year deal with the Calgary Stampeders. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Quarterback Matt Shiltz and defensive tackle Ricky Walker appear headed to the Calgary Stampeders.

According to league sources, Shiltz and Walker, both Americans, agreed in principle to one-year deals with Calgary on Wednesday.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity as CFL teams can’t officially sign pending free agents until the start of the free-agent period at noon ET on Tuesday.

The six-foot-two, 205-pound Shiltz has spent the last two seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Walker, a six-foot-two, 287-pound defensive tackle, played the last three years with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Another anonymous CFL source said Wednesday the Saskatchewan Roughriders have an agreement in principle with Ottawa linebacker Adam Auclair. The Canadian had 119 tackles, 30 special-teams tackles, two sacks, one interception, and two forced fumbles in 42 regular-season games with the Redblacks.

Calgary would become the third CFL team Shiltz has played for after starting his career in Canada with the Montreal Alouettes (2017-19, 2021).

Shiltz appeared in 11 regular-season games last season with the Ticats, completing 108-of-161 passes (67.1 per cent) for 1,556 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions – all career highs.

Shiltz also rushed 23 times for 160 yards (7.0-yard average) and a touchdown. His attempts and yards were also career highs.

Shiltz, who played collegiately at Butler, has appeared 78 career regular-season games. He has completed 338-of-517 passes (65.4 per cent) for 4,357 yards with 19 TDs and 18 interceptions while rushing for 625 yards on 101 carries (6.2-yard average) and four touchdowns.

Walker had 37 tackles and five sacks last season with Winnipeg. The former Virginia Tech star appeared in 36 regular-season games with the Bombers, registering 59 tackles, one special-teams tackle and seven sacks.

There was still no indication Wednesday regarding the potential landing spots for either B.C. defensive lineman Mathieu Betts or Hamilton receiver Tim White. Both are pending free agents and expected to garner plenty of attention during the open-window period.

Betts had a CFL-best 18 sacks in 2023 – a single-season record for a Canadian – and was the league’s top defensive player. White had 75 catches for a league-leading 1,269 yards and eight TDs.

The CFL opened its negotiating window Sunday, allowing all teams to speak directly with pending free agents. The window remains open until this Sunday.

Once it closes. pending free agents will have a 48-hour negotiating window with the teams they remain under contract with. At any time, every CFL club will be provided any offers the pending free agents received during the open-window period.

Teams will have until 10 a.m. ET on Feb. 13 to make an offer to their own free agents. Copies of those proposals must again go to both the CFL office and CFLPA.

Pending free agents will then have from 10 a.m. until noon ET to accept any offer that’s been made to them. Should a player not accept any of the proposals, he’ll become a free agent at 12:01 p.m. ET on Feb. 13 and be able to sign with the team of his choosing.

Later on Tuesday, Toronto defensive lineman Dewayne Hendrix reportedly agreed in principle to a deal with Hamilton while Calgary defensive end Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund, a Canadian, reportedly reached an agreement in principle with Grey Cup-champion Montreal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2024.

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