The Montreal Alouettes solidified their defence in the first hours of CFL free agency on Tuesday, as the club signed no less than six predominant defensive players.
Canadian linebacker Chris Ackie, American linebacker Patrick Levels as well as American defensive linemen Woody Baron, Almondo Sewell, Nick Usher and Michael Wakefield all signed deals with Montreal.
Between them, the six players amassed 261 defensive tackles, 25 sacks, one interception, on top of forcing six fumbles, recovering five and knocking down seven passes in 2019.
Ackie (6’2″, 218 lbs) will continue his career in Montreal as he will be in his sixth season in an Alouettes uniform in 2021. In 2019, he started 10 games, recording 38 defensive tackles and two special teams tackles. The 29-year-old recorded 178 total tackles, four forced fumbles, two sacks, and two interceptions in 65 career games in the CFL. In 2018, the Cambridge, Ont. native also played for the Ottawa REDBLACKS. He played for the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks, before being drafted by the Alouettes in 2015 (4th total). The same year he took part in the New York Giants minicamp.
Levels (5’11, 187 lbs) played a first season with the Alouettes in 2019. In 18 games, the Dallas TX, native earned 86 defensive tackles (fourth among CFL leaders), added five sacks and forced two fumbles on his way to being named an East Division All Star. In 2018, the defensive back hoisted the Grey Cup with the Calgary Stampeders. The former Baylor University Bear played 43 career games in the CFL, earning 122 defensive tackles, 14 of them on special teams, as well as five sacks.
Baron (6’1”, 270 lbs) was productive in his second season in the nest in 2019 with 27 defensive tackles, one sack and one knockdown in 18 games. The 27-year-old also recovered a fumble. During his rookie season in 2018, the Chicago, IL native made a good impression with 28 defensive tackles and four sacks. The former Virginia Tech University Hokie spent some time with the Dallas Cowboys prior to his arrival in Montreal.
Sewell (6’4”, 288 lbs) played nine seasons (2011-2019) with the Edmonton Eskimos. In 139-career games, he registered 282 defensive tackles, 60 sacks and forced two fumbles. The former Akron University Zip won the Grey Cup in 2015. In 2019, the Jamaïca native was named to the CFL All-Star Team for the sixth time of his career. He recorded 35 defensive tackles, eight quarterback sacks, forced one fumble and recovered one. The 34-year-old tackle was also a Western Division All-Star seven times throughout his career.
Usher (6’3″, 235 lbs) recorded 36 defensive tackles and six sacks, on top of forcing three fumbles in 18 games with Edmonton in 2019, his second season in Alberta. He then joined the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020. The 26-year-old was a member of the New England Patriots in 2017, following his collegiate career with the Unviersity of Texas at El Paso Miners where he amassed 178 tackles and 11 sacks in 49 games.
Wakefield (6’3″, 268 lbs) arrives in Montreal following three seasons with the Ottawa REDBLACKS where he recorded 54 defensive tackles in 39 games. In 2019, the 27-year-old registered 32 defensive tackles, four sacks and one interception.