REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders drastically upgraded their defence Wednesday after adding Canadian defensive end Justin Capiccotti, linebacker Greg Jones and defensive backs Ed Gainey and Otha Foster.
The Riders also signed running backs Kendial Lawrence and Curtis Steele on the second day of CFL free agency.
Otha and Lawrence are the latest former Edmonton players to follow head coach/GM Chris Jones to Saskatchewan. On Tuesday, offensive lineman Andrew Jones signed with the Riders while Canadian reciever Shamawd Chambers — the top Canadian in last year’s Grey Cup game — agreed to terms before officially signing his deal Wednesday.
The six-foot-four, 212-pound Foster spent the last two seasons with Edmonton, starting all 33 regular-season games he appeared in. He recorded 103 tackles, seven special-teams tackles and two interceptions.
Capiccotti, a Toronto native, spent the last two years in Ottawa and was a CFL all-star last season. The six-foot-three, 235-pound end registered 23 sacks while with the Redblacks and was a highly sought commodity in free agency.
"Just wanted to thank all of Ottawa, from the fans, to my former teammates and coaches," Capiccotti tweeted Wednesday. "You guys have made the last two years for me and my family amazing.
"With that being said I am so happy and excited for my future with RiderNation lets go get this grey cup."
The six-foot, 242-pound Jones spent the last two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts. Last year, the 27-year-old started all 18 regular-season games and registered a team-high 98 tackles.
Jones was also a member of the New York Giants when they captured the 2011 Super Bowl.
The five-foot-11, 195-pound Gainey spent the last two seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after beginning his CFL career in Montreal.
Gainey, 25, has played in 43 career games, having registered 69 tackles, 25 special-teams tackles, two interceptions and three fumble returns, including one that was returned for a touchdown.
The Roughriders also announced the signing of Canadian receiver Shamawd Chambers. The six-foot-three, 219-pound native of Markham, Ont., spent the last four seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos and was named the top Canadian in the club’s Grey Cup win last November against Ottawa.
Chambers has played in 50 career regular-season games, having recorded 112 receptions for 1,234 yards and seven TDs.
Lawrence, another former Eskimo, followed suit and signed with the Riders as a free agent. The five-foot-nine, 195-pound Lawrence spent the last two seasons in Edmonton after beginning his CFL career in Hamilton.
Steele joins the Riders after three seasons with Toronto. The 28-year-old ran for 820 yards on 138 carries (5.9-yard average) with seven TDs while adding 49 receptions for 383 yards and a touchdown.
Saskatchewan also released linebacker Jake Doughty and punter Ray Early, both Americans. Doughty had 30 tackles and three special-teams tackles in seven games last season, his first with the Riders, while Early boasted a 45-yard average in dressing for all of the club’s 18 regular-season games.