Over 200 CFL players are set to hit the market and become free agents on February 11, meaning they’ll be new faces everywhere from B.C. to Ottawa.
Last season Mike Reilly, Trevor Harris, Willie Jefferson, and Greg Ellingson were the biggest fish to move cities. But diamonds in the rough such as Cody Fajardo, Dylan Wynn, and Patrick Levels made huge impacts on their respective rosters too.
This season’s no different, with stars and unproven ballers looking to find new homes.
So, allow me to take a stab at where some of this year’s group of talent will land. And I repeat, these are educated guesses, not foregone conclusions.
Don Jackson to Toronto
Let’s start with the layup, the Nik’s Picks best bet, the obvious fit. Jackson has already made it clear he’s looking to test the waters, and the Argos are one of few teams in need of a starting running back. In his latest rap track Picasso Flow, Don Jayy (Jackson’s alias) even hints at this move, saying “sh** slow in my city I might just take it Toronto.”
Avery Williams to Calgary
Cory Greenwood’s turning 35 this season, meaning Calgary may be in the hunt for a middle linebacker. Enter Williams, who was on pace for 112 tackles last season before going down with an injury. Factor in that Ottawa seems ready to roll with Jerod Fernandez at MIKE, and Williams can say goodbye to the Redblacks and dawn the West Division’s red and black.
Curley Alum Avery Williams, playing in the CFL, with the scoop and score for 6!#GoFriars #Brotherhood #StartHereGoAnywhere @curleyhs @CurleyAthletics@_AveryWilliams @REDBLACKS @cfl pic.twitter.com/tTzwRsGs65
— Curley Football (@ACFriarFootball) August 18, 2018
Cameron Marshall to Montreal
The Alouettes lost their bruising running back William Stanback to the NFL this off-season, so why not go out and get his most comparable runner, the 5’11 215-pound Cameron Marshall. He’s averaged over 6.2 yards per carry in limited action since 2018 but while on the Ti-Cats last season proved he can be an effective, powerful runner.
Rico Murray to Saskatchewan
Another NFL departure in Derrick Moncrief has the Riders looking for a strong-side linebacker. For my money, Rico Murray’s the best one in the game despite playing for three teams in the last three seasons. Let’s make it four in the last four, as the versatile veteran can also slide into a halfback or safety role in Saskatchewan if need be.
Darvin Adams to Ottawa
Paul LaPolice has to pluck at least one offensive weapon from Winnipeg (Kevin Anderson doesn’t count), right? Adams makes sense for LaPolice, who was the Bombers’ deep threat for the last few seasons and a two-time 1,000-yard receiver. Put Dominique Rhymes and Adams on the outside, and Nick Arbuckle should have no issues in the deep passing game.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) September 23, 2017
Jonathan Rose to Winnipeg
Last names aside, the loss of Winston Rose makes this move necessary for Winnipeg. Jonathan Rose only played three games last season due to injury, but prior to 2019 he was one of the few lockdown corners in the CFL. Jonathan also has a knack for the football, tying Winston for interceptions in 2018 with five. It’d be like Winston never left!
Jumal Rolle to Calgary
If you lose one or two defensive backs, promoted backups may then get the job done. But when you lose your top three like Calgary, you need to spend some free agency cash. Rolle is the perfect lowkey addition in this case. He can line up at boundary corner and has the potential to thrive as a full-time starter at the goldmine position on the Stamps’ defence.
Chris Streveler tries for a deep shot, but Jumal Rolle (@Rolle_Island) says “NUH UH”.
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) September 28, 2019
Llevi Noel to Hamilton
Born and raised in Toronto, leaving the 6 may be difficult for Noel. But he needs starting reps somewhere after questionably seeing just special teams time in 2019. And what better way to make the Argos pay for that decision than signing with rival Hamilton. It’s a short commute back home and the Ti-Cats may be down a few receivers from 2019 — a win-win.
Micah Johnson to B.C.
Johnson signed a one-year $250,000 deal with Saskatchewan last season and didn’t come close to living up to it. His sack production dropped from 14 to four and he wasn’t the same player who smashed through double teams with Calgary. Johnson’s getting older at 32, but the Lions should take a risk on someone who may be a game-breaker at defensive tackle.
— The Rod Pedersen Show (@RodPedersenShow) September 6, 2019
Naaman Roosevelt to Winnipeg
Roosevelt’s spent his entire five-year career with the Riders, but after his potential benching late in the 2019 season, it’s time for a new home for the underrated receiver. The Bombers could still use a veteran receiver with some reliable hands, and Roosevelt is one of few CFL free agents who fits that bill, having two 1,000-yard seasons to his name.
Michael Couture to B.C.
Last off-season Matthias Goossen and Sukh Chungh moved from Winnipeg to B.C., albeit for different reasons. Chungh actually played for the Lions but factored in to their offensive line’s collective poor year. That said, B.C. may be smart to dial the 204 area code up and inquire about the presumed odd man out in Winnipeg and B.C. native in Couture.
Ed Gainey to Toronto
Toronto is fun and the Argos need halfbacks while Gainey is bored in Regina — he’s a perfect fit, right? All jokes aside, Gainey’s an elite cover man and can bring some leadership and stability to a secondary that has had tremendous turnover recently, and in a bad way. Toronto may have to overpay for the nine-year veteran, but he’s worth the price.
— The Rod Pedersen Show (@RodPedersenShow) December 28, 2019
Abdul Kanneh to Edmonton
Kanneh’s career has slowly declined in Toronto which is why both a change in scenery and position is needed. Kanneh can play halfback or strong-side linebacker, but I see him fit as a safety in Edmonton. Considering Arjen Colquhoun can account for a National spot in the secondary, Kanneh and his six years of CFL experience would be beneficial for the Esks.
Kevin Brown to Montreal
The Als need a starting weak-side linebacker and if they want to look for a cheaper one than pending FA Chris Ackie, Kevin Brown is their guy. Spending the last three seasons in Ottawa, Brown’s flew under the radar as one of the better tacklers in the league. The Als may re-sign Ackie, but I think that money is better spent on Brown and other team needs.
Mike Jones to Saskatchewan
When you scan the CFL free agents list, Hamilton’s Mike Jones doesn’t jump out. But after Cody Fajardo developed his long-ball connection with Shaq Evans, Jones to Saskatchewan at the other receiver spot is a sneaky addition who provides another deep threat. Jones’ yardage nearly dropped 500 yards last year, but he’s a 1,000-yard guy in the right offence.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 22, 2017
CFL Free Agents Aplenty
Got any additional guesses, want to tell me I’m crazy (or super smart, either works), see your team targetting other CFL free agents? Let me know by commenting below or tweeting me @nik_kowalski.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images