Don't assume that 2011 CFL Most Outstanding Canadian Jerome Messam will be wearing the Eskimos' green-and-gold again any time soon. Yes, Messam was cut by the NFL's Miami Dolphins Saturday, but he may not be out of NFL options. He was axed as part of the team's moves to cut their roster from 90 to 75 players, and there's another cut looming, so Messam certainly won't be on the Dolphins' 46-man active roster list, and it's unlikely he'll wind up as part of their eight-man practice roster. However, it's quite conceivable Messam could be picked up by another NFL team, either on the active roster or the practice roster. Even if that doesn't happen within 10 days and his CFL deal with Edmonton kicks back in, he won't necessarily suit up for the Eskimos; the stacked Edmonton backfield might make Messam an appealing trade candidate. Thus, it may not be time for Edmonton fans to pull Messam jerseys out of their closets just yet.
What are Messam's NFL prospects? Well, we can't get inside NFL executives' heads, but there was a fair bit of interest in him from several teams south of the border following his 2011 CFL campaign, which saw him pick up 1,057 rushing yards (third in the league) and six touchdowns. Messam's 27, so he's not the youngest guy out there, but he isn't all that close to the dreaded running back age of 30 either. Also in his favour is his physique; at 6'3'' and 245 pounds, he's much closer to the prototypical pounding NFL back than the quick, smaller guys who have been more successful in the CFL than in four-down football. (There are some NFL exceptions, such as the Saints' Darren Sproles, but south-of-the-border teams still tend to like big running backs, which favours Messam.) That doesn't guarantee he'll get another shot, as he didn't really impress with the Dolphins and was one of the first round of cuts, but further NFL looks can't be ruled out.
Even if Messam does return to the CFL, though, it seems unlikely his comeback will be with Edmonton. Yes, Messam was great last year, but it usually takes a while for players to readjust to three-down football, and the Eskimos may not want to bother, as they have two excellent running backs already, starter Hugh Charles and the recently-acquired Cory Boyd. They could trade one of those guys, but Messam likely has more value; Charles has been decent this year, especially as a receiver, but his 4.8 yards per carry average is less than stellar, and Boyd was bizarrely released outright rather than traded by Toronto, so perhaps his trade stock isn't that high either. Messam's combination of power, speed and a Canadian passport would make him a desirable pickup for many CFL teams, and trading him might land the Eskimos some decent talent. Messam could slip through the NFL cracks and Edmonton could bring him back, but it seems more probable at the moment he'll wind up elsewhere.
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