CFL Free Agency 2012 - Winners and Losers

I will put Edmonton in the free agency "winner" category. Some really nice upgrades:

  • Greg Carr was the big FA signing for me this year (both literally and figuratively). Surprised the Bombers let him go
  • Cary Koch - a very under-rated receiver. I don't recall seeing him drop a pass
  • Donald Oramasionwu -great non-import potential on the D-line
  • Simeon Rottier was a big signing from Hamilton before free agency even began

Sure, Hamilton picked up some very good players too in Fantuz, Peach, and solid additions in O'Neill, and Eiben while Saskatchewan has definitely upgraded their O-line in Picard and Labatte, but the $64,000 question remains to be seen: have those two teams overpaid for Fantuz and Labatte respectively?

Sorry, but I have to put Winnipeg in the FA "loser" category so far with Carr, Oramasionwu, and Labatte all leaving. If Doug Brown makes his retirement official, those are some big holes to fill in the organization.

Toronto has been more quiet in free agency than I would have expected too.

Toronto made their big splash before F/A with the Ricky Ray trade. Since then, all they've done really is to add Barnes and then lose Parker, Shell, and Eiben.

I think Montreal did well. . . picked up a darn good LB in Rod Davis, and didn't lose anyone of note.

Its hard to evaluate how a team did. Even the standings don't tell the whole story. But if you look at additions/substractions. The only team where you see a clear loss of talent with no immediate additions is Winnipeg. Edmonton's trade of Ricky Ray for a net of footballs well that falls in a whole other category of "galactically stupid".


Right on. Tillman is an astute GM, but man, he dropped the ball here. If you're going to flip your franchise QB, you had better do two things:

  1. Get good return on him.
  2. Use the extra cap space wisely and immediately.

Tillman has done neither. If I were an Eskimo fan, I would be royally pissed right now.

Me too. I had always thought rather highly of his football acumen, but so far this offseason, his moves have been head-scratchers.

When Tillman gave away Ricky Ray, it seems like his master plan was to sign Fantuz along with another NI or two. I think he realized pretty early on that Fantuz had no intentions of going anywhere but back east, so he had to change direction.

Signing the next best WR was a consolation for losing out on it allowed Tillman to throw some extra money at Rottier and Donny O. I like the NI signings, but unfortunately for Edmonton they don't quite replace teh impact of losing out on your franchise QB and a potential franchis NI receiver. When it comes to "game-changers" you don't usually think of guards and DTs.

I don't really question the point of trading Ricky Ray. It's always best to move a player when he still has decent trade value, instead of waiting until his play declines at which point he wouldn't have much trade value.

But there's the rub. . . I think most of us believe he didn't get fair value for him. A backup kicker/LB/jackofseveraltrades in Shaw, a career backup QB who has not yet ever been able to establish himself as a starter for three different teams so far? Not good value one would think. . . guess he's hoping to hit a home run with the draft choice.

Edmonton has a long and storied history of developing QBs. Don't be surprised if things work out better there than it appears it will on paper.

Still a shot in the dark.

And that, rpaege, is exactly what I suspect ET is counting on.

Personally, I will not be in the least surprised if one of Nichols or Ward beats Jyles out for the starter's job. Don't know much about them, mind you, but what I know of Jyles doesn't impress me at all.

But then, if ET thought that one of Nichols or Ward was ready to step up and be a starter in this league, why include Jyles as one of the guys you got?

Are you counting out Kerry Joseph from the starting spot competition? I believe he's still on their roster and used him ahead of the younger guys on the short yardage and goal line plays.

As for why include Jyles... you're giving up Ricky Ray in a deal a lot of people are thinking is shady so the optics are even worse if you don't get a QB back in return. If there are 2 guys on the Toronto roster that are pretty much untouchable it's cory boyd and chad owens. When you go down the roster after that who do you have? Personally if it was me i would have had TO include Durie into the mix of players. Couple of guys on the Dline but I think the Eskies are pretty happy with what they have if they are letting Greg Peach walk in FA. But aside from that there isn't a whole lot of top caliber quality on the Argo roster.

True. Hard to evaluate until the free agents actually perform on the field but to me, a team has done well when they upgrade without breaking the bank. In addition to the aforementioned additions to the Eskimos, the Als have quietly done well with linebacker Rod Davis and CFL all-star Aaron Hunt from B.C., who refused to take a reduced role and a pay cut.

In a word, YES.

So would I. . .

I believe it's already official, unless you consider Doug Brown's addition to the CFL panel a FA pick-up for TSN... :slight_smile:

Thanks for the correction. I couldn't find any news of it online. I'm not the biggest Doug Brown fan out there but still surprised I missed it. Did they hold a press conference to announce it?

Its always easyer when your team is a winner. Lions are coming off a GC win and the guys got nice bonus money and rings in Montreal they are perennial contenders and a year removed from a b2b GC wins.

Your seeing the reverse in Edmonton. Trading Ray cost them Barnes and very few FA with choices want to go to a team that has serious question marks.

Hamilton signed a lot of talent but they had lost a bunch too or replaced similar talent in Hickman,Rottier,Thigpen,Cobourne,Glenn and possibly Medlock.

Toronto revamped their offense with proven talent but Chris Jones is going to rebuild the defense from scratch, he has a good track record of finding players and identifying players to suit his style/system.

Calgary is interesting, they did next to nothing but had a really young team last year and dumped some big salaries.

Saskatchewan fixed their oline that's about it. Gave Woldu starter money...Losing Fantuz is a hit.

Next round will be trading season around the draft. I think some teams like Toronto, Edmonton need to make trades to fill holes and will be making some moves. Toronto is all about this year and Edmonton has two first rounder so they can move one.

Somehow, I do think Tillman still has an ace in the hole.


KR is the easiest position to fill in the CFL. Next easiest is RB. Before you start furiously typing out a rebuttal, take a look at the number of impact RBs and return men that emerge out of nowhere every year.

The two untouchable Toronto players are Foley and Durie. NIs will always carry a premium over imports, especially at DE and WR. If I'd had to guess, I would have said for sure Edmonton would have demanded one of them for Ricky Ray. Oh well, I guess they're happy with Grant Shaw as the NI coming to Edmonton.

BC has taken a couple of huge losses with Hunt and Elimimian leaving. That's two major cogs from right in the heart of the front seven. Shell and Parker struggle badly with press coverage - - you're going to see Stubler back off the DBs into a weak zone and QBs will pick apart the defence with constant short passes to open receivers. Same thing as what happened in Toronto last year. That and the loss of Hunt will really hurt the pass rush.

My concern with BC is that they're spending a lot of money in free agency to bolster a secondary with older DBs. Are they going to have the legs for an 18-game season? Also, a secondary takes time to come together. Everyone in that secondary is a talented player, but sometimes the whole isn't as good as the sum of its parts.