Countdown to CFL free agency: Latest chatter
CFL free agency opens Tuesday and teams are now in the 48-hour window where they can negotiate exclusively with their pending free agents. TSN.ca rounds up all the latest rumours and reports with the ‘legal tampering’ period now over.
Note on XFL players
TSN Football Insider Dave Naylor reported players who play in the XFL are eligible to sign CFL contracts after the XFL season, unless there is something in their XFL contract that explicitly prevents them from doing so. The XFL season ends with the championship game on April 26 while CFL training camps open in mid-May.
Is Derel Walker favouring Lions?
Derel Walker was the highest paid non-quarterback in the league last year at about $275K with the Argonauts. He’s heard from a number of teams. He has not ruled out going back to Toronto, and there have been conversations with the Montreal Alouettes, Saskatchewan Roughriders, and other teams.
One place that he may favour is the BC Lions. Of course his connection there with Ed Hervey, the GM of the Lions who was a GM in Edmonton when Walker broke into the league. And Mike Reilly, the quarterback in BC. They were a terrific combination when they were both in Edmonton; maybe the CFL’s best quarterback-to-receiver duo, and they would love to recreate that in BC. We’ll see if that happens, but Walker is definitely going to listen to the Lions and that may be where he ends up. - Dave Naylor
Most Outstanding Defensive Player Willie Jefferson down to three teams
The lead newsmaker is once again Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive end Willie Jefferson. Jefferson visited Toronto and Hamilton on the weekend and he has narrowed his choice down to three teams, the Argonauts, Ticats and Blue Bombers. He’s expected to make a decision on Tuesday unless NFL interest in him picks up. Then he may delay to entertain that but otherwise, he is expected to make a choice.
The Blue Bombers have come in with an offer at just over $250K. He made $210K with them last season. Hamilton is believed to be prepared to pay in the same range and the Argonauts, most people believe, are going to be much higher than that, somewhere between the $275K-$300K range. And the question will be, is that enough to sway Jefferson or does he want to stay and defend the Grey Cup with Winnipeg?
Once Jefferson makes a decision, it’s going to affect the market because a lot of players and teams are waiting to see what’s going to happen with Jefferson. - Dave Naylor
Davis and Jefferson?
TSN's Farhan Lalji reported the Ticats' re-signing of East Division All-Star DE Ja'Gared Davis, made official Monday, does not preclude them from adding Jefferson. Lalji added part of the team's pitch to Jefferson was the possibility of teaming up with Davis on the defensive line.
- Shawn Lemon is expected to go to free agency with three teams having shown strong interest in him during the negotiating window and the Lions having yet to make an offer.
- Micah Johnson, the big free agent defensive lineman from last year who signed with the Roughriders, won’t be back in Saskatchewan. He’s had talks with the Lions and with the teams in the East. And again, once Jefferson is put away, it’s possible Johnson may be not long after that.
- Solomon Elimimian, at one point last week it looked like he and the Roughriders were going to go separate ways. There have been some positive talks there and he could return to Saskatchewan although he’s having conversations with at least one other team.
- James Franklin, who was the quarterback of the Toronto Argonauts the last two years, is having conversations with the Eskimos, Roughriders, and Lions. He was released by the Argonauts late last week so he’s free to make a deal now. It’s possible he could land on Monday before the official start of free agency.