Winners & Losers in Free Agency

Bombers have had the best FA signings thus far, but with a flurry of signings today the Argos are giving them a run for best overall FA class. If not for losing Greg Jones, I'd put the Argos at the top of the heap.

The Riders have made some big improvements with their signings - - but it's not difficult to improve upon the garbage that was in Regina last year.

BC has been the clear loser thus far. Losing their best Canadian - - who also happened to be their best offensive player - - is a devastating loss. Similar to how the Riders lost their top two Canadians last season - - and look how things turned out in Regina. Expect a similar outcome for the Lions this year.

It's surprising considering Jim Barker's philosophy on free agency.

That philosophy on FAs changed pretty quickly once he wasn't shackled by the tightwad slumlord.

I don't agree with Toronto being a winner. When you lose Trevor Harris to a division rival... IMO Edmonton took the bigger losses.

Apparently I'm one of the few people who isn't sold on Harris being a high level QB.

He'll be 30yrs old when the season starts. He's yet to play a full season as the starter - - and it doesn't look like that's going to happen this year either with the reigning MOP ahead of him in Ottawa.

Harris started out strong last season - - but he really dropped off after a half dozen games. And two of those games were against the horrifically bad Riders defence that was one of the all time embarrassments.

In his next ten starts, Harris had only two games where he went over 275yds. In five of those starts he was under 225yds.

Most alarming stat was that over those final ten starts, Harris had 18TDs/14INTs. That's not starting material.

In addition to Jones, I wasn't a big fan of losing Euclid Cummings either although the Argos do have solid replacements in line at DT.

Agreed, Greg Jones was a huge loss but Cummings won't be missed. Bulcke and Monroe are far better DTs than Cummings and Laing - - and I do not expect Laing to return either.

They were far too undisciplined - - in terms of stupid penalties, as well as their pass rush. Both would freelance and get out of their lanes, leaving the middle wide open for opposing QBs to step up in the pocket uncontested. That's a major reason as to why the Argos pass defence was so atrocious.

Lions were surprisingly slow with free agency...BUT...their OL is ok. They gave up the second least sacks last year. Sure...Valli's retirement hurts, but Hunter Steward is back this season from that bead break and ready to go and he is a very capable NI OT who will likely be pushed to OG with Adcock coming on this year...he did well as a very very young OT a couple years back, so should excel at OG. Kid is what...24 and looks like he has played for years. They are also poised to use 3 NIs on the OL this year, not 2 as they have been a fair amount...big ratio boost.

Believe the Green and White won FA overall.

Lol, good point.


Always difficult to predict winners and losers following free agency; in some,if not most, instances we may have to wait year or so for the right answers; this being said, I include,by team and alphabetical order, the losses and gains of free agency; I include Int. LB Dexter McCoil,formerly of Edmonton, and Cleo Lemon,formerly of Ottawa. Trades and releases of players are not included.

BC Lions:
4 losses:
Nat. RB Andrew Harris. To Winnipeg.
Int. LB Alex Hoffman- Ellis. To Hamilton.
Int. LB/DB Josh Johnson. To NFL. Jacksonville.
Nat. Pascal Lochard. To Winnipeg.
5 gains:
Int. OL Levy Adcock. From Saskatchewan.
Nat. DB Mike Edem. From Hamilton.
Int. RB Jeremiah Johnson. From Ottawa.
Int. WR Nick Moore. From Winnipeg.
Int. DB Brandon Stewart. From Hamilton.

Calgary Stampeders:
4 losses:
Int. DE Frank Beltre. To NFL. New York Jets.
Int. WR Jeff Fuller. To NFL. Seattle.
Int. LB/DB Keon Raymond. To Toronto.
Int. WR Eric Rogers. To NFL. San Francisco.
2 gains:
Int. WR Bakari Grant. From Hamilton.
Int. LB Taylor Reed. From Hamilton.

Edmonton Eskimos:
8 losses:
Nat. WR Shamawd Chambers. To Saskatchewan.
Int. LB/DB Otha Foster. To Saskatchewan.
Int. DE Willie Jefferson. To NFL. Washington.
Nat OL Andrew Jones. To Saskatchewan.
Int. KR/SB Kendial Lawrence. To Saskatchewan.
Int. LB Dexter McCoil. To NFL. San Diego.
Int. OL Brian Simmons. To Hamilton.
Int. WR Kenny Stafford. To Montreal.

0 gain

Hamilton Tiger-Cats:
10 losses:
Nat. DL Brian Bulcke. To Toronto.
Nat. DB Mike Edem. To BC.
Int. DB Ed Gainey. To Saskatchewan.
Nat. DE Arnaud Gascon- Nadon. To Ottawa.
Int. WR Bakari Grant. To Calgary.
Int. LB Erik Harris. To NFL. New Orleans.
Int. K Justin Medlock. To Winnipeg.
Int. LB Taylor Reed. To Calgary.
Int. WR Terrell Sinkfield. To NFL. Minnesota.
Int. DB Brandon Stewart. To BC.
4 Gains:
Int. LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis. From BC.
Int. WR/KR Chad Owens. From Toronto.
Int. OL Brian Simmons. From Edmonton.
Int. DB Demond Washington. From Winnipeg.

Montreal Alouettes:
1 loss:
Nat. OT Josh Bourke. To Toronto.
3 gains:
Int. CB Jovon Johnson. From Ottawa.
Nat. LB Kevin Régimbald. From Saskatchewan.
Int. WR Kenny Stafford. From Edmonton.

6 losses:
Nat. DE Justin Capicciotti. To Saskatchewan.
Int. RB Jeremiah Johnson. To BC.
Int. CB Jovon Johnson. To Montreal.
Int. DE Cleo Lemon. To Saskatchewan.
Int. OT Colin Kelly. To NFL. San Francisco.
Nat. DT Keith Shologan. To Winnipeg.
3 gains:
Nat. DE Arnaud Gascon-Nadon. From Hamilton.
Nat RB Brendan Gillanders. From Toronto.
Int. QB Trevor Harris. From Toronto.

Saskatchewan RoughRiders:
4 losses:
Int. OL Levy Adcock. To BC.
Nat. LB Kevin Régimbald. To Montreal.
Int. WR Ryan Smith. To Winnipeg.
Nat. OL Corey Watman. To Toronto.
10 gains:
Nat. DE Justin Capicciotti. From Ottawa.
Nat. WR Shamawd Chambers. From Edmonton.
Int. LB/DB Otha Foster. From Edmonton.
Int. DB Ed Gainey. From Hamilton.
Nat. Ol Andrew Jones. From Edmonton.
Int. LB Gregory Jones. From Toronto.
Int. KR/SB Kendial Lawrence. From Edmonton.
Int. DE Cleo Lemon. From Ottawa.
Nat. DB Craig Newman. From Winnipeg.
Int. RB Curtis Steele. From Toronto.

Toronto Argonauts:
8 losses:
Int. DT Euclid Cummings. To Winnipeg.
Nat. RB Brendan Gillanders. To Ottawa.
Int. QB Trevor Harris. To Ottawa.
Int. LB Gregory Jones. To Saskatchewan.
Nat. OL Jeff Keeping. To Winnipeg.
Int. WR/KR Chad Owens. To Hamilton.
Int. RB Curtis Steele. To Saskatchewan.
Int. K Swayze Waters. To NFL. Carolina.
5 gains:
Nat. OT Josh Bourke. From Montreal.
Nat. DL Brian Bulcke. From Hamilton.
Nat. K Lirim Hajorullahu. From Winnipeg.
Nat. OL Corey Watman. From Saskatchewan.
INt. LB/DB Keon Raymond. From Calgary.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers:
5 losses:
Nat. K Lirim Hajorullahu. To Toronto.
Int. RB Cameron Marshall. To NFL. Seattle.
Int. WR Nick Moore. To BC.
Nat. DB Craig Newman. To Saskatchewan.
Int. DB Demond Washington. To Hamilton.
7 gains:
Int. DT Euclid Cummings. From Toronto.
Nat. RB Andrew Harris. From BC.
Nat. OL Jeff Keeping. From Toronto.
Nat. RB Pascal Lochard. From BC.
Int. K Justin Medlock. From Hamilton.
Nat. DT Keith Shologan. From Ottawa.
Int. WR Ryan Smith. From Saskatchewan.

With free agency, 50 players changed team as 39 signed with another CFL team and 11 signed with an NFL team. For me, Edmonton is definitely the team that has lost the most good players whereas Saskatchewan gained the most. Toronto may regret letting Int. QB signed with Ottawa; Hamilton will definitely miss Int. Justin Medlock.

There are still good free agents available,particularly Nat. DT Cleyon Laing and Int. DE Tristan Okpalaugo in Toronto,Int. DB Emanuel Davis and Int. DE Justin Hickman in Hamilton and Int. DB Aaron Grimes. Some of these players could sign with an NFL team.


Great informative post and analysis Richard . I definitely agree with Medlock and Harris signings were game changers for their respective teams . Harris is in the wings for Burris and vice versa next year is great insurance for Ottawa . Medlock place kicking should win the close games for Winnipeg .

I second that - - excellent job putting together the FA lists. Really appreciate it.

Unless there’s starting QBs involved, the biggest impact comes from adding/losing NIs. Edmonton has lost a bunch of players but only two mediocre NI back ups were among them. In comparison to BC losing their best NI in Harris and the RedBags losing a pair of NI starters in Shologan and Capicciotti.

Wow...Nice breakdown Richard. I knew Hervey seemed to be sleeping at the wheel here, but yikes! He did extend a few players, so I guess that is something.

And 51...Chamber is not mediocre...yet unproven but has shown sparks, but not mediocre. I would also qualify Andrew Jones as a quality depth minimum I would say if you compared, the Riders upgraded over Watman...even if it is a guy who only has a year or 2 left..

Losing imports is less critical...but man the Esks lost some good ones

You won't find anyone who appreciates Greg Jones' game more than I do - - that was a huge signing for the Riders.

Many are being fooled into the idea that Capicciotti is an impact DE. As I've explained previously, he's very similar to Al Hall - - their stats were a product of the scheme they were in. You're going to see his numbers come back to reality in Regina just lie what happened to Al Hall.

Capicciotti is very effective when he's allowed to rush unblocked - - but then again, so would most pro level DEs. He just doesn't have the explosiveness/quickness that you'd want in a pass rusher - - strange that his go to pass rush move is to go wide and try to loop around the OT.

Ken Lawrence is a low football IQ player who can always be counted on for one or two screw ups per game. He's not going to be a starting receiver, he's not going to be a starting RB - - essentially he's taking the role that Joke Sanders had a couple of years ago.

ShamWow Chambers, Curt Steele, Craig Newman, Andy Jones, and Ed Gainey are nothing more than back ups. Newman and Gainey will be a big improvement on STs, but if either one is starting they're going to be a liability.

Let's see how Foster does when he doesn't have John Ojo and Grymes to rely on. But one things for certain - - he can't be any worse than Macho Harris or Junior Mertile were last year.

Chambers is a classic "Look like Tarzan play like Jane" type player. With his speed and size he should be dominating this league. But every year he's either hurt or can't manage to produce when he is on the field.

I've never had any confidence that Watman could be a starter - - but I suppose I could be wrong on him and he develops into a competent starter. He and Jones are pretty much the same player at this point - - only difference is that Watman actually has a bit of potential to become a starter.

Nice write Richard. Grey cup winners will loss the most. Edmonton hit big time for sure. Thanks

Chambers started to show glimpses last season later on once he was healthy...some injuries early on have hampered his development, but he is still an ideal player to roll the dice on. Watman may or may not ever be a solid starter, but there is nothing wrong with him at depth if nothing else...not everyone pans out to be a starter, that doesn't mean they are not a good asset for a team.

As he was leaving, he said something to the effect that the team values interior linemen more than ends. Makes me wonder if he wasn't inadvertently confirming what you're saying.

Not that I'm pleased about losing him, but it may not be the atrocity that some Ottawa fans make it out to be. And he may still be a good fit in Regina, I don't know what kind of defense they're going to run there.

It is, though I think the ability to re-sign your own players needs to be taken into account. Calgary brought back ten guys. Those are avoided losses, if they're not gains. To me, that speaks of a successful organization.