On the Eve of Free Company

There’s no good analogy to correctly describe absolutely the insanity that’s the opening of the Canadian Soccer League free agent market.

Nonetheless, right here’s an try…

Image a basic supervisor juggling chainsaws – flaming chainsaws, simply to additional improve the psychological picture – whereas perched on a unicycle wheeling into an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Sure, the eve of free company might be positively nutty, what with soccer varieties desperately attempting to lock up their very own expertise earlier than the market opens Tuesday at 11 a.m., all of the whereas hungrily eyeing all of the gamers out there. And, given the prevalence of short-term contracts and the uncertainty round an expiring collective bargaining settlement, that buffet is overflowing with choices.

Every CFL staff will convey a singular perspective to free company, with seven golf equipment – B.C., Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Ottawa and Toronto – having questions on the quarterback place. Some organizations will try and tinker, whereas others should blow up their rosters and begin recent.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ distinctive perspective is that this: they’ve their QB depth chart set with Matt Nichols, Chris Streveler and Bryan Bennett all below contract – and prospect Bryan Schor additionally below contract – and even with 9 starters quickly to change into free brokers, are additionally within the place to reinforce a lineup that has received the second-most video games within the CFL to the Calgary Stampeders during the last three years.

The asterisk to that, after all, is that the staff has just one playoff win over that span. That mentioned, that’s mild years away from the place this franchise was only a few years in the past, when attracting free brokers to Winnipeg was probably the most tough gross sales pitch within the league.

“If you’re not profitable soccer video games, which we weren’t, clearly your roster is just not sturdy sufficient,” mentioned Bombers GM Kyle Walters late final week. “So it’s simple to say, ‘These guys aren’t ok, so let’s simply transfer on. Transfer on and let’s attempt to add.’ Keep in mind again then we had been including nearly double digit guys in free company, which you are likely to should over pay for to lure them in. That was the truth of the state of affairs while you’re not an excellent soccer staff and also you wish to get good soccer gamers: you need to over pay for these soccer gamers. What’s occurring now’s we’re extra taken with conserving our core intact and attempting to determine which guys we wish to keep and may afford.

“It went from ‘Do away with all these guys as a result of they’re not ok’ to ‘Which of those good guys can we afford to maintain?’,” Walters added. “That’s the most important distinction proper now that we’re battling with. It’s how will we add a key piece right here or there. All issues being equal, gamers wish to be right here if we are able to come to comparable affords.”

Pending any final minute offers, the Bombers will enter Tuesday’s market with 14 pending free brokers, together with 9 starters from 2018.

The starters are defensive again Brandon Alexander, security Taylor Loffler, cornerback Kevin Fogg, linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox, defensive sort out Drake Nevis, defensive finish Tristan Okpalaugo, proper guard Sukh Chungh, slotback Nic Demski and huge receiver Weston Dressler. Rounding out the record are linebackers Frank Renaud, Frederic Plesius, defensive again Brendan Morgan, huge receiver Ryan Lankford and working again Kienan LaFrance.

Right here’s a position-by-position have a look at the Bombers present roster as they head into Tuesday’s free agent market opening.

Defensive position

Pending Bomber free brokers: Drake Nevis, Tristan Okpalaugo, Trent Corney*
2018 video games performed/begins: Okpalaugo (18/18); Nevis (18/18); Craig Roh (17/eight); Jackson Jeffcoat (12/10); Cory Johnson (9/9); Brandin Bryant (10/9); Jake Thomas* (18/zero), Gerald Rivers (6/zero), Corney (three/zero).
New faces: DE Patrick Choudja; DT/DE Noble Nwachukwu; DL Evan Perrizo.
Transferring on: Cory Johnson, who was launched final 12 months and signed with Saskatchewan, is a pending FA. Rivers was launched and Corney is shifting on from soccer for well being causes.
Synopsis: There shall be change right here, with each Nevis and Okpalaugo headed to free company. There’s a chance the Bombers might line up a Canadian alongside Bryant on the sort out place if the ratio is impacted by what occurs elsewhere with the roster when it comes to free company. Translation: if Taylor Loffler and Sukh Chungh each go away, the membership could go Canadian at DT to offset the affect on the Canadian ratio.
Juicy DL names hitting the market: DE Willie Jefferson (SSK); DE Ja’Gared Davis (CGY); DE Shawn Lemon (B.C.); DT Cordarro Legislation (CGY); DT Junior Turner* (CGY); DT Micah Johnson (CGY); Eddie Steele* (SSK).


Pending free brokers: Jovan Santos-Knox, Frederic Plesius*, Frank Renaud*
2018 video games performed/begins: Adam Bighill (18/18); Santos-Knox (18/18); Chandler Fenner (15/5 – as each a DB and LB); Anthony Gaitor (10/9 – DB/LB); Maurice Leggett (9/eight – DB/LB); Ian Wild (15/zero); Thomas Miles* (18/zero); Jesse Briggs* (18/zero); Shayne Gauthier* (10/zero); Kyrie Wilson (5/zero); Plesius (6/zero); Renaud (5/zero).
New faces: Jarnor Jones; Otha Peters Jr.
Transferring on: Leggett and Wild had been each launched within the offseason.
Synopsis: Re-signing Bighill was huge and locking up particular teamers like Miles, Briggs and Gauthier was additionally essential. The large one that continues to be is Santos-Knox, an rising star who had drawn NFL curiosity however was not capable of work out due to a foot damage. Re-signing Wilson is perhaps an try and have one thing of a security web in case Santos-Knox doesn’t return. There’s some flexibility to begin Fenner at SAM linebacker and transfer Gaitor again to halfback, however Gaitor was most impactful at SAM.
Juicy LB names hitting the market: Larry Dean (HAM); Simoni Lawrence (HAM); Mica Awe (B.C.); Chris Ackie* (OTT); Bo Lokombo* (B.C.); Marcus Ball (TOR); Jeff Knox (TOR).


Pending free brokers: Taylor Loffler*, Brandon Alexander, Kevin Fogg, Brendan Morgan*
2018 video games performed/begins: Chris Randle (17/17;, Fogg (16/16); Loffler* (16/16); Marcus Sayles (16/15); Alexander (14/14); Morgan (16/zero); Chandler Fenner (15/5 – at each LB/DB); Anthony Gaitor (10/9 – LB/DB); Maurice Leggett (9/eight – DB/LB); Abu Conteh* (12/zero); Jeff Hecht* (14/2);  Tyneil Cooper (5/three); Robert Priester (2/2); Derek Jones* (three/zero); Chris Humes (1/1).
New faces: Amari Coleman; Jacob Firlotte*; Eric Patterson; Jimmy Pruitt; Mykkele Thompson; Dexter Janke*
Transferring on: Leggett has been launched and is a free agent. Priester was launched and has since signed with Edmonton.
Synopsis: No place group undergoes extra change yearly in these elements than the secondary. Randle and Leggett are gone – Randle signed with Ottawa days after his launch right here – and with Loffler, Alexander and Fogg all inching towards free company this unit may very well be in for an excessive makeover this season. That’s a probably dangerous proposition, given the progress the defence made within the latter half of 2018.
Juicy DB names hitting the market: Delvin Breaux (HAM); Rico Murray (OTT); Ronnie Yell (TOR); Don Unamba (HAM); Tunde Adeleke* (CGY); Emmanuel Davis (CGY); Aaron Grymes (EDM); Forrest Hightower (EDM); Otha Foster (B.C.); Anthony Orange (B.C.); Garry Peters (B.C.);


Pending free brokers: None.
2018 video games performed/begins: Matt Nichols (15/14); Chris Streveler (18/four); Bryan Bennett (18/zero).
New faces: Bryan Schor
Synopsis: There’s stability right here, which makes the Bombers the envy of the CFL. Nichols completed an all-over-the-map 2018 season – he opened the 12 months on the injured record, then rediscovered his recreation after a troublesome spell in late August/early September – by serving to information the staff right into a divisional ultimate. In Streveler the membership has the QB prospect followers have been pining for in these elements for many years. Bennett is extra an possibility on particular groups than as a future starter at QB, which makes the addition of Schor an intriguing one for camp.
Juicy QB names hitting the market: Bo Levi Mitchell (CGY); Mike Reilly (EDM); Trevor Harris (OTT); Jonathan Jennings (B.C.); Travis Lulay (B.C.); Zach Collaros (SSK); Brandon Bridge (SSK)


Pending free brokers: Nic Demski*, Weston Dressler, Ryan Lankford
2018 video games performed/begins: Darvin Adams (17/17); Demski* (17/17); Dressler (13/13); Drew Wolitarsky* (18/18); Kenbrell Thompkins (12/12); Corey Washington (three/three); Rashaun Simonise (18/18); Daniel Petermann (18/1); Charles Nelson (1/1); Ryan Lankford (four/2); Adarius Bowman (6/6); Tylor Henry (1/zero)
New faces: Evan Clark, Garrett Johnson, Kenny Lawler, Dom Williams
Transferring on: Bowman was launched in the summertime, resurfaced in Montreal and is scheduled to change into a FA once more. Henry was launched final fall.
Synopsis: An space brazenly focused by GM Kyle Walters after final season as needing an improve. That seems to be coming with each Dressler and Demski heading to free company. The staff might handle the lack of Demski and the way that impacts the ratio by shifting Wolitarsky completely inside to slotback and beginning Simonise or Petermann at huge receiver. The variety of veteran names hitting the market across the league means there are potential upgrades available and the signing of Johnson and Williams – along with holdovers from final 12 months in Washington and Lawler (observe roster) – means Paul LaPolice can have a variety of choices when coaching camp opens.
Juicy receiver names hitting the market: Derrell Walker (EDM); Greg Ellingson (OTT); DeVier Posey (B.C.); DaVaris Daniels (CGY); Juwan Brescacin* (CGY); Chris Matthews (CGY); Naaman Roosevelt (SSK); Manny Arceneaux (B.C.); B.J. Cunningham (MTL); Mike Jones* (HAM).

Operating backs/Fullbacks

Pending free brokers: Kienan LaFrance*
2018 video games performed/begins: Andrew Harris* (18/18); Mike Miller (18/zero); Johnny Augustine (9/zero); Kienan LaFrance (16/zero); John Rush (13/zero); Timothy Flanders (1/zero).
New faces: Jalen Simmons
Synopsis: Andrew Harris is defying science by enjoying one of the best soccer of his profession at age 31. He’s the back-to-back CFL speeding champ and has proven completely no indicators of a decline, having rushed for a profession finest 1,390 yards final 12 months. Augustine was re-signed in December whereas LaFrance is a pending free agent, which means the Bombers have opted for the youthful and cheaper choice to again up Harris.
Juicy RB names hitting the market: William Powell (OTT); Chris Rainey (B.C.); Jeremiah Johnson (B.C.); Tyrell Sutton (B.C.); Mercer Timmis (HAM); Nikita Whitlock (HAM); Chris Normand (EDM).

Offensive line

Pending free brokers: Sukh Chungh*
2018 video games performed/begins: Stanley Bryant (18/18); Matthias Goossen* (18/18); Sukh Chungh* (17/17); Jermarcus Hardrick (15/15), Patrick Neufeld* (18/18); Manase Foketi (2/2); Michael Couture (18/2); Cody Speller (2/zero); Geoff Grey (1/zero); Qadr Spooner (1/zero).
Transferring on: Goossen just lately retired to hitch the police power in Delta, B.C.; Spooner was not re-signed.
New faces: Matthew Ouellet De Carlo*; Ben Koczwara*; Chauncey Briggs
Synopsis: Change is coming to a bunch that has been so regular over the vast majority of the final three years. Couture would be the main candidate to switch Goossen at centre and whereas contract talks are persevering with with Chungh, it appears as if the membership is perhaps opting to let him hit the market on Tuesday. Grey, a first-round choose in 2017, is an intriguing possibility at guard and the Bombers might use their fourth or fifth general picks within the upcoming draft to search out extra assist right here. However Bombers coaches have been raving about Foketi for eons and he might push for the membership to return to utilizing three imports on the O-line, even with the affect that might have on the ratio.
Juicy OL names hitting the market: Tyler Holmes* (TOR); SirVincent Rogers (OTT); Jovan Olafioye (B.C.); William Campbell (TOR); Travis Bond (EDM); Spencer Wilson* (CGY); Hunter Steward* (B.C.); Randy Richards (CGY).

Pending free brokers: Kevin Fogg, Ryan Lankford
2018 Specialists: Kicker: Justin Medlock; Lengthy-snapper: Chad Rempel*; Punt returner: Kevin Fogg; Kickoff returner: Ryan Lankford
Synopsis: The kicking battery – Rempel to Medlock – is unbroken, however who handles the kick-return chores shall be impacted if Fogg, Lankford and in addition Nic Demski don’t return. Medlock nonetheless holds his place as among the finest kickers in CFL historical past; ditto for Rempel because the snapper. The opening is within the return recreation and Charles Nelson, who made his CFL debut in a strong method within the common season finale, is possibility No. 1 though there are candidates in free company.
Juicy returner names hitting the market: Chris Rainey (B.C.); Martese Jackson (EDM); Travon Vann (TOR)


*signifies Canadian

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