The Shea Emry-Ricky Foley trade is notable for its ratio impact as well as the players involved

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Ricky Foley is headed back to Toronto in exchange for Shea Emry, a move that could alter both teams' ratios. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press.)
Ricky Foley is headed back to Toronto in exchange for Shea Emry, a move that could alter both teams' ratios. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press.)

This CFL offseason has seen more bigtrades than normal, with names like Maurice Price, Fred Stamps, Jasper Simmons and Kenny Stafford switching teams, but Sunday's deal that saw the Saskatchewan Roughriders send defensive end Ricky Foley to the Toronto Argonauts for linebacker Shea Emry might be the most remarkable yet. Both Foley and Emry have been league all-stars in the past, and if they can rekindle that form in their new cities, they might be huge additions for their respective teams. Even more importantly, though, both players are Canadians who play positions typically reserved for Americans. Thus, this deal may also have substantial impacts on how both teams set their import ratio this coming season.

In Saskatchewan, a ratio change seems in the works. The Roughriders tried plenty of different players at the middle linebacker slot this past season, including Chad Kilgore, Brian Peters, Sam Hurl and Marvin Burdette (who was their starter for the last few games and in the postseason), but all except Hurl were imports. If Emry can fill that slot, that could let Saskatchewan replace Foley with an import and go with four Americans on the defensive line. One possibility there is former all-star Brandon Boudreaux, who they acquired from Hamilton in September. Boudreaux didn't play much for Saskatchewan, as John Chick and Foley held down the DE slots, but he could feature more with Foley gone. The Riders would have to sign him to a new deal, though, as he's a pending free agent. If they can't bring him back, there are always intruiging American pass-rushers out there; veterans can be found in free agency, or rookies through the scouting process.

An important question for the Riders is if Emry will be able to stay healthy. He's battled some significant injuries the last few years, including several concussions. His 2014 wasn't bad on that front, but he did miss some time at the start of the season with a concussion, and his overall production (72 tackles and a sack) was low by his standards. If he can stay on the field and return to top form, this could be a nice move for Saskatchewan (especially considering that he's just 28), but injuries are an issue here. Fortunately, the Riders may have enough non-import depth to back Emry up, with Hurl (also a pending free agent , however) and Shomari Williams providing potentially useful options. If Hurl leaves, though, Emry's health may be more of a concern.

For Toronto, this could also lead to a ratio change, but a more complicated one. The leading candidate to take Emry's MLB role is Cory Greenwood, another Canadian. The Argos chose Greenwood in the first round of the 2010 CFL draft, but he only joined the team last October after four years in the NFL; they'll be eager to get him into a larger role. Foley's also likely to take a starting role on the defensive line, so that could allow the Argos to swap a Canadian for an American elsewhere, potentially in the receiving corps. At first glance, Toronto might seem to be getting less here, given that Emry's 28 and Foley's 32. However, Foley's had less recent injury issues and is heading back to his hometown, which can be a nice bonus; it was a big factor for him before. The ability to free up a spot for Greenwood also needs to be taken into consideration. That's why this could wind up working out very well for the Argonauts as well as the Roughriders.

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