Tiger-Cats trade veteran QB Dane Evans to Lions

Dane Evans’s CFL career will continue on the West Coast.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats traded Evans to the B.C. Lions on Thursday for a conditional 2024 fourth-round draft pick. Evans was the Ticats’ starter for their two Grey Cup losses to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2019, 2021).

The move comes just over a year after Hamilton opted to commit to Evans as their starter — signing a two-year deal — and allow Jeremiah Masoli to join the Ottawa Redblacks as a free agent. But the Ticats (8-10) finished third in the East Division last season before losing 28-17 to the Montreal Alouettes in the conference semifinal.

Evans’s fate was sealed last month when Hamilton went all-in with veteran Bo Levi Mitchell, signing the two-time CFL outstanding player to a three-year deal roughly two months after acquiring Mitchell’s rights from the Calgary Stampeders.

B.C.’s acquisition of Evans comes after the club gave veteran Vernon Adams Jr. a huge vote of confidence last month when Canadian Nathan Rourke signed with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. But Rick Campbell, the Lions’ head coach/co-GM said Adams will remain the club’s starter.

“We are thrilled to add someone of Dane’s calibre to our quarterback room,” Campbell said in a statement. “You can never have enough proven veterans at QB.

“Vernon Adams Jr. is our guy and our starter. Led by VA, the QB room will be a key component to our success in 2023.”

The Lions and Ticats will meet twice this year. Hamilton will visit BC Place Stadium on Aug. 26 before the two teams play at Tim Hortons Field on Oct. 13.

In 2018, Adams and Evans were together in Hamilton, which tried converting the five-foot-11, 200-pound Adams to receiver. After being released by the Ticats, Adams signed with Montreal, where he started his CFL career in 2016.

“LETS GO!!!” Evans tweeted. “Ready to get to work with a new crew.

“Fresh start!! Let’s get it fellas”

Evans had one year — at over $400,000 — remaining on the deal he signed with Hamilton. There were reports Evans agreed to an amended deal with B.C. that’s more in line with a backup quarterback.

The six-foot-one, 218-pound Evans finished 305-of-457 passing (66.7 per cent) for 3,883 yards last season with Hamilton. But he also led the CFL in interceptions (16), fumbles (eight) and fumbles lost (seven), while winning just six of 14 regular-season starts.

Evans, 29, joined the Ticats in 2018 and appeared in 63 career regular-season games over four seasons. He completed 698-of-1,019 passes (67.6 per cent) for 8,807 yards with 45 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.

Evans also ran for 511 yards and 10 TDs on 125 carries (4.01-yard average).

B.C. landed Adams on Aug. 31, 2022 from the Montreal Alouettes after Rourke suffered a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot that required surgery. Adams won four of the six starts he made for the Lions, completing 118-of-180 passes (65.6 per cent) for 1,504 yards with six TDs and one interception before Rourke returned for the club’s regular-season finale.

Adams also rushed for 129 yards on 14 carries (9.2-yard average).

B.C. also signed American quarterback Dominique Davis to a one-year deal Feb., 14, the first day of CFL free agency. The six-foot-four, 216-pound Davis spent last season with Montreal, completing 19-of-25 passes for 253 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing for 163 yards and 13 touchdowns on 63 carries.

Davis is entering his eighth CFL season, having spent time with Winnipeg (2015-17), Ottawa (2018-19, 2021) and Montreal (2022). He has appeared in 106 career regular-season games, completing 335-of-528 passes (63.4 per cent) for 3,893 yards with 14 TDs and 21 interceptions.

Davis, 33, has run 167 times for 434 yards (2.6-yard average) and 26 touchdowns.

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