One of the decade’s most sought-after CFL free agents is remaining in Regina, Sportsnet has learned.
Receiver Weston Dressler, whose services set off a sweepstakes-style bidding war after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs, turned down a higher offer from Ottawa and is returning to Saskatchewan.
The one-year, pro-rated deal is worth approximately $200,000, including a small signing bonus.
The 29-year-old had previously played six seasons with the Roughriders, including the 2013 Grey Cup title run. Because Dressler knows coordinator George Cortez’s offence, and has terrific chemistry with quarterback Darian Durant, it’s believed he will play in Sunday afternoon’s Labour Day Classic against Winnipeg.
Dressler made the decision early Thursday morning, weighing not only the richer opportunity from the expansion Redblacks, but as Sportsnet first reported Wednesday evening, a sizeable offer from the Stampeders. According to sources, Calgary quietly entered the fray after Dressler became a free agent.
Ottawa had the most money and the longest term to offer Dressler, while Saskatchewan presented a one-year contract to the five-time, 1,000-yard receiver. Because the option-year clause was removed from the latest collective bargaining agreement between the players association and the league, the Riders deal still gives Dressler flexibility to explore the open market this winter, giving him another chance to cash in. It is believed the Roughriders will want to begin talks on an extension sometime this fall to avoid the two-time league all-star getting to free agency.
The Riders offence has been stagnant this season, and the organization’s hope is that adding Dressler can ignite Durant and the passing game.
Dressler signed with the Chiefs last winter, and had made a favourable impression with the NFL club during OTA’s and mini-camps. But he did not survive the first round of cuts this week when rosters had to be pared to 75 players.