To no one’s surprise, the first two days of the 2019 CFL free agency were chockful of activity. To some surprise, the BC Lions and Edmonton Eskimos accounted for approximately all signings of key FAs not named Bo Levi Mitchell.
Speaking of no one’s surprise, the move of Grey Cup-winning/longtime Eskimo QB Mike Reilly to BC was expected from before week 20 was in the books, and so it was. But, whoa, can this team not wait to jump into the post-Wally Buono era or what? Whether or not Manny Arceneaux will be staying in BC, Reilly nevertheless will have a pair of interesting and dynamic WRs in Duron Carter and Lemar Durant joining him in Vancouver.
Other new-look Lions – signed in the first two days of free agency, mind you – include:
• RB John White (from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats)
• OL Sukh Chung (Blue Bombers)
• LB Terrell Davis (Ticats)
• CB Chris Edwards (Eskimos)
• DB Aaron Grymes (Eskimos)
• DB Josh Woodman (Eskimos)
And whereas BC Lions fandom is all a-cheer with Reilly’s arrival, most other corners are excoriating Edmonton for, likesay, not getting back to building up that OL after the Grey Cup. Yesterday, a headline on the CFL’s official website ran [EDMONTON GM BROCK] SUNDERLAND REFUSES TO LET REILLY DEPARTURE DEFINE ESKS FREE AGENCY.
No kidding. The Eskimos made a ridiculous nine additions within 12 hours of the opening bell on 2019 free agency, indicating that if any organization wants to put anyone in the rearview mirror faster than BC Lions do Buono, it’s Edmonton and Reilly. Here’s the CFL fantasy football team the Eskimos have racked up in two days:
• QB Trevor Harris (from the Ottawa Redblacks)
• OL Sir Vencent Rogers (Redblacks)
• WR Greg Ellingson (Redblacks)
• WR Kenny Shaw (released by Riders)
• WR DeVaris Daniels (Stamps)
• WR Ricky Collins (BC Lions)
• LB Larry Dean (Ticats)
• LB Jovan Santos-Knox (Bombers)
• DB Don Unamba (Ticats)
• DB Anthony Orange (BC Lions)
The biggest loser in all this? Sure, the Redblacks have seen a lot of talent head out the door, particularly to Edmonton and Saskatchewan but – and this cannot be understated – THEY STILL PLAY IN THE EAST. Ottawa will remain a contender in 2019, based solely on the Toronto Argonauts whiffing on a top-3 available QB and the Montreal Alouettes doing little yet again.
Nope, the big loser here is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Not that staying pat with a team that has been in contention both of the past two years is necessarily the worst choice but, before this week, the shredding of the Calgary Stampeders roster and the surprise departure of Chris Jones (who’d held more or less every front-office and coaching position in the Saskatchewan Roughriders organization) appeared to favour the Bombers.
Now? We’ll have to wait and see, but CFLpass wouldn’t be shocked to see another third-place finish for the Bombers in 2019…