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The Rouge: Should Lions shuffle roster to add Elimimian?

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Ben Fisher, TSN.ca
9/11/2012 11:02:39 AM
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Editor's note: Solomon Elimimian returned to the BC Lions on September 13.

It's one of those good problems to have, but the question should be asked nonetheless.

Solomon Elimimian arrived in Vancouver last week after being cut by two NFL teams – the Browns and the Vikings, and provided he doesn't pick up with another by September 13, he'll rejoin the BC Lions.

Elimimian was a CFL All-Star last season with the Lions, racking up 98 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions in just 16 games. Nicknamed the Eliminator, he was generally regarded as one of the biggest – if not the biggest – hitters in the league before trying his luck south of the border.

The only problem is, the Lions defence hasn't missed a beat this season, with Adam Bighill filling in admirably at the middle linebacker spot.

A second-year CFLer, Bighill has 59 tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions through 10 games this year. Bighill has also been named Defensive Player of the Week twice this season, one more weekly award than Elimimian picked up all of last year.

So, should Elimimian rejoin the Lions this week, and all indications are that he will, the Lions will have a choice to make.

Listening to Lions general manager Wally Buono and head coach Mike Benevides talk about the situation, it sounds unlikely the team will trade one of them away, at least not right now.

If that's the case – both players staying on the roster – how do the Lions go about maximizing the impact of each player? While neither is well-equipped physically to cover speedy receivers at the nickel linebacker spot, one could possibly slide out to the other side, so both Bighill and Elimimian are on the field at the same time. That would, of course, just create a similar problem, this time with linebacker Anton McKenzie.

Would the Lions consider a defensive formation shift to get both players on the field at once as inside linebackers? Or is it as simple as rotating the two in the middle of the defence?

The best option may simply be to trade one of them. Both Bighill and Elimimian have to be considered amongst the top middle linebackers in the league, and moving one to a linebacker-needy team could help BC shore up an area of weakness on their roster, or just net future assets.

As mentioned by CFL on TSN analyst Milt Stegall over the weekend, the players' contracts should also be taken into consideration, should the team decide to move one of them. Elimimian can test the free agent market this off-season, and will likely be looking for a big payday; that is if he isn't inclined to give the NFL another shot. Bighill, on the other hand, is still playing under his rookie contract.

If the Lions are thinking trade, maybe that's the answer right there.

So put yourself in Buono's shoes, and consider what would be best for the team.

The Rouge asks: How should the Lions handle the middle linebacker position, and should Elimimian rejoin the team?

As always, it's Your! Call.

Solomon Elimimian (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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