Stampeders have become well-oiled off-season machine

Calgary Stampeders' Deron Mayo reacts during second half action of the Western Final against the...

Calgary Stampeders' Deron Mayo reacts during second half action of the Western Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at McMahon stadium November 17, 2013. (Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency)

SCOTT MITCHELL, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:18 AM ET

This is the reason the Calgary Stampeders more or less sit out free agency each CFL off-season.

It’s the time of year the future of the roster takes shape and the wheels of the player development machine are greased.

As Stampeders brass filtered into sunny Florida this week to get set for this weekend’s invite-only free-agent camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. — the first practice session went Saturday evening, with two more set for Sunday and Monday — the importance of the evaluation and talent-finding tool cannot be understated.

When a CFL franchise decides to keep its money in-house and pay its own talent, rather than spending its riches on the open market, the key becomes finding talent worth paying.

One look at the Stamps’ off-season will tell you they’ve done quite well in that area.

Charleston Hughes, a tryout find, got paid. As did free-agent import finds Juwan Simpson, Keon Raymond, Deron Mayo, Joe West, Maurice Price and Jeff Fuller.


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