This year’s free agency day dawns with long lists of unsigned players from each team – something that’s become increasingly common in recent years. But before the big day, a number of major prospects were signed by their current teams. Here’s a roundup of the biggest names who were off the table before they could exercise their free agency.
CFL Free Agency 2017: the Pregame Signings
Hamilton has had a great couple of years at the wide receiver position, with many of their prospects working out extremely well when they weren’t injured. Terence Toliver, with good speed and sure hands, has been the standout among them. The Tiger-Cats made a high-value signing with him, securing one of the receivers they need – even more important with Andy Fantuz still on the market (though likely to return).
A CFL veteran, Marquay McDaniel is still putting up strong numbers, including 2016’s 83 receptions and 1,074 yards to his credit. Unfortunately he was injured in the first quarter of the Grey Cup, but the Calgary Stampeders signed him before the deadline, with coach John Hufnagel calling him a priority signing for the team.
Little surprise that the Ottawa Redblacks were so eager to sign Greg Ellingson, the standout Canadian receiver is a key part of the Ottawa championship-winning air attack. His teammate Chris Williams is still for sale, and Ottawa will be re-tooling their offence in the wake of the retiring Henry Burris. Ellingson will bring stability to the offence, whoever is under centre.
A local legend and five-year Montreal Alouettes veteran, the 36-year-old linebacker Kyries Hebert continues to put up a strong defensive showing despite his advanced years. He made a career-high 78 defensive tackles in 2016, showing that experience beats youth in the linebacking game. Clearly, Montreal agrees, and signed him just the day before the free agency deadline.
With the clock ticking down, there are no doubt some deals being worked out right before the deadline. Any guesses who else will stay with their current team instead of testing the market? Tell us in the comments!