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DB Qwan'tez Stiggers Signs NFL Contract with Jets

Rookie Built a Great Relationship with CB Coach Tony Oden; Intends to Make Teams Pay

Stiggers 16x9

Even before he signed his first NFL contract with the New York Jets on Monday, DB Qwan'tez Stiggers got a strange phone call from someone inquiring about his tax payments.

"Hello, this is the IRS," Stiggers, a fifth-round pick of the Jets, recalled of the announcement on the other end of the line. "I'm like, 'IRS?' He's like, 'Yeah, this is the IRS, we're trying to find out, did you do your Canadian taxes?'"

Stiggers (22) played last season with the Toronto Argonauts and lined up at defensive back. Stiggers, one of 13 children, dropped out of Lane College (Jackson, TN) after his father died in 2020. His mother urged him to return to football and he played in the Fan Controlled Football League (7-on-7 indoor football) in 2022 before joining the Argos on Jan. 4, 2023. In 15 CFL games, he racked up 5 INTs and 53 defensive tackles and got on the radar of NFL scouts and IRS agents like Jets senior defensive assistant/CB coach Tony Oden. After being named the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie and shining at the East-West Shrine game, the Jets had Stiggers on their radar and Oden grew close with the talented prospect.

"It was almost surreal for me," Stiggers said. "I came up to the Jets on a top-30 visit. Me and Coach TO built a great relationship. I just feel like home, honestly. I might not have gone in the round I wanted to go in, but at the end of the day – I love that the Jets selected me. I'm going to make them pay. They're going to have to pay all year."

Believed to be the first CFL player drafted by an NFL team without college experience, Stiggers credits his mom, his fiancée and entire family for not giving up on something that would have seemed impossible a couple of years ago.

"When we received word that there's a CFL player that's draft eligible, that's a unique situation right, so it raises some eyebrows," said Jets GM Joe Douglas. "Obviously, he was rookie of the year for Toronto, and so that's the initial, 'OK, this is an interesting situation. Let's see what this is all about.' But then really the East-West game, he had a really good week, he had a really good week there and opened up eyes there. He's a unique guy, he's a special guy, another guy that came up for the 30-Visit and get to know him and his zone eyes, his ball skills, they show out in tape. Great young man. Obviously, he had a great experience with a lot of people in the building, so just felt like he could be a really nice addition to the back of the defense."

Stiggers (5-11, 203) joins arguably the league's top CB unit that includes Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed and Michael Carter II with Brandin Echols and Isaiah Oliver providing depth. Stiggers worked out with Carter II in the lead-up to the draft.

"He's just a real authentic guy," Douglas said. "He's been through the rigors of life that some kids his age haven't been through. Just with his experience, there's been plenty of opportunities for 'Tez to say, 'You know what, maybe this isn't for me. Things aren't working out.' But his persistence, his attitude never wavered. So, for him to be in the position that he's in now, it's such a great credit to him and his makeup."