Countdown to CFL free agency: Latest on top pending free agents on the defensive line
What is the latest on the top pending free agents on the defensive line, led by Willie Jefferson?
Naylor: We assumed going into free agency that the CFL’s reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player would get a lot of attention and from what I understand, every team but three have reached out to him: the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Edmonton Eskimos, and Ottawa Redblacks.
I think the price range is in the mid-$200Ks. He made $210K with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last year, and they know they’re going to have to step up if they’re going to retain him. But Winnipeg remains very much in the mix and I think all things being equal, they would be Jefferson’s choice.
The wild card in this is the Toronto Argonauts, who everybody in the league seems to believe will go big after Jefferson. They’ve got Derel Walker’s contract potentially coming off the books, that frees up $275K, and they’re tearing down a lot of their roster, so they would have the ability to go to the high $200Ks on Jefferson. We’ll have to see if Winnipeg or any other team would be prepared to meet them there.
Scianitti: Another team on that list that you didn’t mention is the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Tiger-Cats have another name that’s really high on our list in Ja’Gared Davis. The Ticats are willing to give him a bit of a bump as an American defensive end and take his salary into the low-$200K range.
But the math could be really interesting because another name that’s high on our list is Ticats defensive tackle Dylan Wynn and the Ticats want to get him into the low $100K range. But they also think that Wynn is really going to aggressively look at offers. So if Wynn goes somewhere else, it could free up more money for the Ticats.
However, the way the Ticats have always positioned themselves, especially on defensive line, is they are going to have money but they’re not going to overspend for anyone.
Shifting gears to receiver, what is the latest on some top names like Shaq Evans?
Naylor: The Roughriders receiver had a breakout season last year, really seemed to find chemistry with Cody Fajardo in that offence, and I think it’s his choice to want to stay in Saskatchewan. There’s a back-and-forth going, I think the sides are not that far apart, so look for him to stay in Saskatchewan in the $175K-$200K range. It’s still possible something else happens because this is not done, but I think there is mutual interest and the sides are not that far apart.
Scianitti: There is one more name to consider and that is DeVier Posey. Now, he’s a true free agent because he’s not currently attached to a team. This negotiating period really doesn’t matter to him but he is getting a lot of calls. Four teams have called for Posey.