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Dave Naylor

TSN Analyst and Host


Tuesday may not amount to an historic day for the Canadian Football League, but it does mark an interesting change in the way the league has always gone about its business.

CFL teams don’t draft American players. They protect their rights on something called negotiation lists, collections of 45 names per team that allow franchises to secure the CFL rights to players mostly in college football or the National Football League.

The lists are shared among teams but kept secret from the public, which never made a whole lot of sense in a world where leagues are fighting for every bit of attention they can get. 

For years, fans and members of the media asked why, pointing out that there would seem to be obvious upsides to releasing negotiation lists: It would stimulate discussion, create anticipation and provide fans with another way to engage with the sport.

All of which fell on deaf ears.

That is until last month, when commissioner Randy Ambrosie put the case for releasing at least some of the names before the league’s presidents and general managers. After a discussion and some debate, they voted to take a small step towards change by having each team release 10 names from its list twice a year ­– once in February and again in December on the eve of NCAA bowl season.

“When you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind,” said Ambrosie. “You might have been able to get away with that 30 years ago… I think this is a recognition by the presidents, governors and GMs that we are in a different era and if we’re going to compete for the hearts and minds of fans, then we’re going to have to be more transparent with the media who tell our stories.”

It simply makes sense that football fans in Canada should have known during last month’s College Football Playoff National Championship game that Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm is CFL property of the B.C. Lions or that Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa belongs to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

This fall, Saskatchewan Roughriders fans can watch Penn State senior Trace McSorley with special attention, while Toronto Argonauts fans can watch Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield take his shot at the NFL with added interest.

Not all of the players will eventually come to the CFL, but that’s the nature of the negotiation list itself. A good list isn’t one full of the biggest names but one stacked with those who may be a better fit for the Canadian game than the NFL.

Let the fans debate them. Let members of the media have their say. 

​It’s not hard to see that the league would like negotiation lists to be entirely public one day. This week marks a small step into a more modern age for the CFL.


BC Lions

Player Pos. College
Greg Ducre DB Washington
Ryan Finley QB NC State
Deondre Francois QB Florida State
Jake Fromm QB Georgia
Gage Gubrud QB Eastern Washington
Lamar Jackson QB Louisville
Najee Murray DB Kent State
Shea Patterson QB Michigan
Brett Rypien QB Boise State
Khalil Tate QB Arizona


Calgary Stampeders

Player Pos. College
Josh Allen OT Louisiana-Monroe
Keyarris Garrett WR Tulsa
Bennett Jackson DB Notre Dame
Anthony Johnson DT LSU
Tommylee Lewis WR Northern Illinois
Givens Price OT Nebraska
Tyler Rogers QB New Mexico State
Brandon Silvers QB Troy
Greg Ward Jr. QB/WR Houston
Tourek Williams DE Florida International


Edmonton Eskimos

Player Pos. College
Shane Buechele QB Texas
Case Cookus QB Northern Arizona
Will Davis DB Utah State
Josh James OL Carroll College
Phillip Lindsay RB Colorado
Jerry Louie-McGee WR/RET Montana
Steven Mitchell Jr. WR USC
Zack Wagenmann DE Montana
Manny Wilkins QB Arizona State
Shane Zylstra WR Minnesota State


Saskatchewan Roughriders

Player Pos. College
Josh Boyce WR TCU
B.J. Daniels QB/RB South Florida
Akeem Davis LB Memphis
Curt Maggitt DE Tennessee
Trace McSorley QB Penn State
Luis Perez QB Texas A&M Commerce
Eric Pinkins DB San Diego State
Kevin Snead WR Carson-Newman
Daxton Swanson DB Sam Houston State
Adam Zaruba FB Simon Fraser


Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Player Pos. College
Jayson DiManche LB  Southern Illinois
Quinton Flowers QB South Florida
Alex McGough QB Florida International
Felix Menard-Briere K Montreal
Shakim Phillips WR Boston College
Cody Prewitt DB Ole Miss
Marcus Sayles DB West Georgia
Tharold Simon DB LSU
Chris Streveler QB South Dakota
Corey Washington REC Newberry College


Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Player Pos. College
Randall Evans DB Kansas State
Robert Griffin III QB Baylor
DuJuan Harris RB Troy
Julian Howsare DE Clarion
McKenzie Milton QB Central Florida
Kalif Raymond WR Holy Cross
Jumal Rolle DB Catawba
Nathan Shepherd DL Fort Hays State
Tua Tagovailoa QB Alabama
Andrew Turzilli WR Rutgers


Toronto Argonauts

Player Pos. College
Houston Bates LB Louisiana Tech
Charles James DB Charleston Southern
Will Likely DB Maryland
Nico Marley LB Tulane
Keshawn Martin WR Michigan State
Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma
Jonathan Meeks DB Clemson
Aaron Murray QB  Georgia
Denard Robinson RB/QB Michigan
Rodney Smith WR Florida State


Ottawa Redblacks

Player Pos. College
Tyler Ferguson QB Western Kentucky
Bug Howard WR North Carolina
Joey Ivie DL Florida
Kaleb Johnson OL Rutgers
J.T. Jones DL Miami (Ohio)
Greg Little WR North Carolina
JoJo Natson WR Akron
Ejuan Price LB Pittsburgh
Phillip Walker QB Temple
Andrew Wylie OL Eastern Michigan


Montreal Alouettes

Player Pos. College
Woody Baron DL Virginia Tech
Brian Hill RB Wyoming
Colin Kaepernick QB Nevada
Devante Kincade QB Grambling State
Jonathan Krause WR Vanderbilt
Riley McCarron WR Iowa
Nick Moody LB Florida State
Anthony Philyaw RB Howard
Austin Rehkow K Idaho
Rico Richardson WR Jackson State