The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have made a big move to strengthen their defense by acquiring Canadian linebacker Jordan Williams from the Toronto Argonauts. The trade, which was announced on Monday, also involved a significant exchange of draft picks between the two teams.
Williams reunites with Hervey in Hamilton
Williams, 29, is a familiar face for Hamilton general manager Ed Hervey, who selected him first overall in the 2020 CFL Draft when he was with the B.C. Lions. Williams spent two seasons with the Lions before joining the Argonauts in 2023.
Williams was the CFL’s top rookie in 2021 when he set a league record for most tackles by a first-year Canadian with 92. He also recorded one sack, one interception and three forced fumbles in his debut season. In 2023, he suited up in 14 games for the Argonauts, including 13 starts, and registered 52 total tackles, including five tackles for loss and one pass knockdown.
The 6-foot, 230-pound native of Baltimore, Maryland played his college football at East Carolina University (2014-17) and spent time professionally with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers (2018).
Trade details: Hamilton gets Williams and four draft picks, Toronto gets five draft picks and Burnett’s rights
The trade also included a swap of eight draft picks between the two teams for the 2024 and 2025 CFL Drafts. Here is the breakdown of the trade:
- NAT – LB – Jordan Williams
- First-round draft pick in the 2024 CFL Draft (7th overall)
- Second-round draft pick in the 2024 CFL Draft (16th overall)
- Fourth-round draft pick in the 2024 CFL Draft (36th overall)
- Conditional fourth-round draft pick in the 2025 CFL Draft
- First-round draft pick in the 2024 CFL Draft (5th overall)
- Two third-round draft picks in the 2024 CFL Draft (24th and 25th overall)
- Conditional third-round draft pick in the 2025 CFL Draft
- Negotiation rights to American receiver Deontay Burnett
Burnett, 24, is a former USC standout who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He has also spent time with the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans in the NFL. He has 16 career receptions for 149 yards in 13 NFL games.
Hamilton aims to improve its defense after losing Grey Cup to Winnipeg
The trade for Williams is a clear indication that Hamilton is looking to improve its defense after losing the Grey Cup to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2023. The Tiger-Cats ranked fourth in the league in points allowed (22.9 per game) and fifth in yards allowed (368.6 per game) last season.
Williams will join a talented linebacking corps that includes Simoni Lawrence, Jovan Santos-Knox and Tunde Adeleke. He will also reunite with former Lions teammates Maleki Harris and Mike Moore, who signed with Hamilton as free agents earlier this month.
The Tiger-Cats are hoping that Williams can help them win their first Grey Cup since 1999. They have lost in the championship game four times in the last eight years, including twice to the Blue Bombers.