Five Riders released to pursue NFL opportunities

With the 2020 CFL season canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, five Saskatchewan Roughriders opt out of the contract to head south in order to seek employment in the NFL.

The CFL and the CFLPA have reached a new agreement on allowing players to be out of their contracts so that they can pursue other opportunities. As a result, up to now, there are five Riders players having opted out of their contracts.

Jon Ryan: Jon Ryan, also named a West Division All Star, will be looking to return to the NFL after he has come back in Canada for one season. He spent 12 seasons playing in the NFL and helped the Seattle Seahawks win a Superbowl in 2014.

Brett Lauther: The Riders’ Canadian kicker is another player who is looking to show off his leg for NFL teams. He made 32 of 41 field goal attempts in 2019 and notably clinched the Labor Day Classic last year for the Green and White with a game-winning field goal.

In 2018, he was also the Riders’ Most Outstanding Special Teams Player and a CFL West Division All-Star.

Dakoda Shepley: Last season, the 25-year-old offensive lineman from Windsor, Ont., played in 18 games. Shepley was selected fifth overall in the 2018 CFL Draft by the Riders and represented the team for Most Outstanding Rookie and.

In the same year, he signed with the NFL’s New York Jets as an undrafted free agent but after that preseason, he was released.

If he returns to the league, Shepley retains his rights through the 2021 CFL season,.

In addition to Jon Ryan, Brett Lauther, and Dakoda Shepley, Americans Deon Lacy and Demarcus Ayers are also two names that have opted out of their contracts. Both were signed in early 2020 but couldn’t get on the field with the team.