Bombers lure away Saskatchewan's most outstanding player on Day 1 of free agency

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers added a potent pass rusher to their defensive line on Tuesday, signing Willie Jefferson on the first day of CFL free agency.

Defensive end Willie Jefferson had 10 sacks for Riders in 2018

Willie Jefferson had been a tower of strength on the defensive line for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers added a potent pass rusher to their defensive line on Tuesday, signing Willie Jefferson on the first day of CFL free agency.

Jefferson, 28, recorded a career-best 10 quarterback sacks last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He also picked off two passes, returning both for touchdowns, and forced two fumbles.

The Bombers signed Jefferson to a one-year contract, dealing a blow to the rival Roughriders. The 6-6, 245-pound defensive end was a CFL all-star the past two seasons and was named Saskatchewan's most outstanding player in 2018.

The addition of Jefferson helps offset the loss of linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox, who signed with the Edmonton Eskimos Tuesday. Santos-Knox was among the Bombers' sack leaders with six last season.

Tuesday's free-agency frenzy also saw the Bombers lose offensive lineman Sukh Chung, who agreed to terms with the B.C. Lions, where he'll protect newly signed quarterback Mike Reilly.

In the biggest move of the day, the Lions earlier lured Reilly away from the Eskimos with a four-year, $2.9-million deal.

In addition to Jefferson, the Bombers also re-signed receiver Nic Demski to a two-year deal. The Winnipeg-born speedster caught 59 passes for 554 yards and three touchdowns last year, adding another 248 yards and one touchdown as a rusher.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols (15) looks on as Saskatchewan Roughriders' Willie Jefferson (7) runs for a touchdown after intercepting Nichols in last year's Banjo Bowl. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

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