Skip to main content


Canadians Oliveira, Betts top TSN's list of CFL free agents


With the Canadian Football League's free agency period set to open on Feb. 13 at noon ET/ 9 a.m. PT, TSN highlights the top 10 Canadians, Americans, offensive and defensive players who could be sporting new colours this season.

Here are the top 10 Canadians.

No. 1: Brady Oliveira - Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Brady Oliveira Winnipeg Blue Bombers

2023 stats

260 1,534 9 Winnipeg North Dakota 2019

Season in review: The 29-year-old Oliveira flourished in his second full season as his hometown Blue Bombers’ No. 1 back, joining Jon Cornish as just the second Canadian to rush for over 1,500 yards in a single season. He was named the league's Most Outstanding Canadian and earned a nomination for the Most Outstanding Player for his 2,014 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns.


No. 2: Mathieu Betts - BC Lions

Cody Fajardo Montreal Alouettes Mathieu Betts BC Lions

2023 stats

42 18 4 Montreal Laval  2019

Season in review: Betts became the new single-season sack leader by a Canadian with 18 in 18 regular-season games for the Lions, surpassing previous record-holders Jamaal Westerman (2015), and former Lion Brent Johnson, who set the record in 2005 with 17 after setting the new Canadian record with 16 just a year prior. A product of Laval University, Betts, 28, also racked up a career-high 42 defensive tackles and four forced fumbles, earning a CFL All-Star nod.


No. 3: Tunde Adeleke - Hamilton Tiger-Cats

DaVaris Daniels Tunde Adeleke Toronto Argonauts Hamilton Tiger-Cats

2023 stats

31 0 0 Nigeria Carleton 2017

Season in review: Adeleke, a 28-year-old Carelton product, played in 10 games for the Tiger-Cats in 2023, tallying 31 defensive tackles, three special teams tackles and a forced fumble. The Nigerian-born defensive back was a CFL All-Star in 2019, an East Division All-Star (2019-22) and the Ticats' nominee for Most Outstanding Canadian in back-to-back seasons (2021-22).


No. 4: Darius Ciraco - Toronto Argonauts (Re-signed)

Darius Ciraco Argonauts

2023 stats

22 Burlington Calgary 2018

Season in review: The 27-year-old native of Burlington, Ont., was No. 4 before he re-signed with the Argonauts on Feb. 3. Ciraco was named a CFL All-Star for first time in his career in 2023, his first season playing for the Argos. Ciraco played a major role in Toronto's offensive line that allowed a league-low 19 sacks, 14 better then the next best team. 


No. 5: Geoff Gray - Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Geoff Gray Brady Oliveira Winnipeg Blue Bombers

2023 stats

18 Winnipeg Manitoba 2017

Season in review: A native Winnipegger, Gray made 18 starts for his Blue Bombers, helping running back Oliveira rush for over 1,500 yards in a single season. 


No. 6: Ben Hladik - BC Lions

Cole Speiker Ben Hladik Montreal Alouettes BC Lions

2023 stats

100 5 1 Vernon UBC 2021

Season in review: The 24-year-old from Vernon, B.C., had a career year with the Lions in 2023. Hladik posted career highs in tackles (100) and sacks (5) in a formidable defence that featured fellow Canadian Betts coming off the edge. 

No. 7: Sean Thomas-Erlington - Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Sean Thomas-Erlington Hamilton Tiger-Cats

2023 stats

53 371 1 Montreal Mon 2017

Season in review: Thomas-Erlington, 31, recently completed his fifth season with the Tiger-Cats after being drafted by them in 2017 out of the University of Montreal.  The Quebec-born back rushed for a career high 371 yards and a touchdown in 18 games with the Black and Gold.


No. 8: Derek Wiggan - Calgary Stampeders

Derek Wiggan Stampeders

2023 stats

16 4 0 Toronto Queen's 2014

Season in review: The 31-year-old native Torontonian played in 18 games for the Stampeders, racking up 16 defensive tackles and four sacks in his seventh season in Cowtown.


No. 9: Landon Rice - Montreal Alouettes

Landon Rice Montreal Alouettes

2023 stats

32 Brandon Manitoba UDFA

Season in review: Rice, 35, captured a Grey Cup title with the Alouettes in his second stint with the team. The Brandon, M.B., native played in 18 games, helping the Cody Fajardo throw for 3,847 yards and William Stanback rush for 800.


No. 10: Ted Laurent - Hamilton Tiger-Cats

2023 stats

15 Montreal Mississippi 2011

Season in review: Laurent, 36, played in 16 games during his ninth season with the Tiger-Cats, amassing 13 defensive tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble. The University of Mississippi product is a two-time CFL All-Star (2014, 2015) and has been named the Tiger-Cats’ nominee for Most Outstanding Canadian on three occasions (2014, 2015, 2018).

Here are the top 10 Americans.

No. 1: Dalton Schoen - Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Dalton Schoen Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Schoen, 27, is coming off his second consecutive 1,000-yard season and led the Bombers with 71 receptions for 1,222 yards and 10 touchdowns a year after being named Most Outstanding Rookie in 2022.

The Overland Park, Kan., native was hampered by injuries in the Bombers' road to the Grey Cup, sitting Week 18 through the West Final against the Lions but appearing in the Grey Cup against the Alouettes.

  • No. 2: Adarius Pickett - Toronto Argonauts
  • No. 3: Jameer Thurman - Hamilton Tiger-Cats 
  • No. 4: A.J. Ouellette - Toronto Argonauts
  • No. 5: Jamal Peters - Toronto Argonauts
  • No. 6: Tim White - Hamilton Tiger-Cats 


No. 7: William Stanback - Montreal Alouettes

Cody Fajardo William Stanback Montreal Alouettes

The Alouettes released the impending free-agent running back on Jan. 30 as per his request. 

The Virginia Union product appeared in 14 games for the Grey Cup champions last season, rushing for 800 yards on 147 carries with two touchdowns. He also hauled in 27 receptions for 241 yards and a receiving TD.

A two-time CFL All-Star, Stanback, 29, was the East Division's nominee for Most Outstanding Player in 2021 when he led the CFL in rushing yards with 1,176.

  • No. 8: Jermarcus Hardrick - Winnipeg Blue Bombers 
  • No. 9: Javon Leake - Toronto Argonauts
  • No. 10: Damonte Coxie - Toronto Argonaut

Here are the top 10 offensive players. 

  • No. 1: Brady Oliveira - Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • No. 2: Dalton Schoen - Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • No. 3: Tim White - Hamilton Tiger-Cats
  • No. 4: A.J. Ouellette - Toronto Argonauts
  • No. 5: William Stanback - Montreal Alouettes
  • No. 6: Damonte Coxie - Toronto Argonauts
  • No. 7: Ka’Deem Carey - Calgary Stampeders
  • No. 8: Lucky Whitehead - BC Lions
  • No. 9: Jermarcus Hardrick - Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • No. 10: Trevon Tate - Toronto Argonauts

Here are the top 10 defensive players.

  • No. 1: Adarius Pickett - Toronto Argonauts
  • No. 2: Mathieu Betts - BC Lions
  • No. 3: Jameer Thurman - Hamilton Tiger-Cats
  • No. 4: Jamal Peters - Toronto Argonauts
  • No. 5: Dewayne Hendrix - Toronto Argonauts
  • No. 6: Shawn Oakman - Toronto Argonauts
  • No. 7: Tunde Adeleke - Hamilton Tiger-Cats
  • No. 8: Dylan Wynn - Hamilton Tiger-Cats
  • No. 9: A.C. Leonard - Edmonton Elks
  • No. 10: Ricky Walker - Winnipeg Blue Bombers