The top 9 (plus 1) questions that need answers in the CFL’s off-season

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Nine teams means nine questions (plus one extra) that need answers heading into the CFL’s off-season.

  1. What is Henry Burris going to do in Ottawa? He’s 41 years old. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Grey Cup. He’s a champion again. The perfect scenario for Ottawa quarterback Henry Burris to head off into retirement, right? Well…if Burris still has a passion to play (and he does), then why not try to repeat, knowing the 2017 Grey Cup is in Ottawa? If he comes back, then how does Trevor Harris handle being a backup again?
  2. Who will be the GM and who will be the coach in Toronto? The trap door opened and the Toronto Argonauts season became a disaster. The Argos lost 11 of their last 12 games, and rumors abound that general manager Jim Barker and head coach Scott Milanovich could get bagged up and tossed in the dumpster because of the collapse. Would Jim Popp be the new GM, and might that hiring mean Marc Trestman is brought in as coach?
  3. Will Mike O’Shea and Matt Nichols be working together in Winnipeg in 2017? The Winnipeg Blue Bombers had a wonderful season; and that should mean Mike O’Shea is rewarded with a new contract as coach and Matt Nichols gets a great new deal as quarterback. Right? Right? Considering that at least two CFL teams have unsettled situations at quarterback, something had better get done quickly.
  4. Are Jacques Chapdelaine and Vernon Adams the future in Montreal? The CFL’s most dysfunctional team over the past five years looks to have a potential winning combination in Jacques Chapdelaine and coach and Vernon Adams at quarterback. Considering that there have been something like 186 coaches and 19,409 quarterbacks since the Als last won the Grey Cup, this would be the right time to commit to a future plan. But until a new general manager is hired, Chapdelaine has no guarantees of anything.
  5. If not Darian Durant, then who for Saskatchewan? The story line out of Regina can be summed up like this: Darian Durant wants to return as the Roughriders’ quarterback, but Chris Jones is not ready to pay Durant what he wants. Considering that two of Durant’s last three seasons were wiped out with injuries, Jones position seems reasonable. But the fans like Durant and want him back. Will either side blink?
  6. Is Marquay McDaniel right when he says nothing is guaranteed in Calgary? Perhaps it was out of frustration, but when Calgary slotback Marquay McDaniel tweeted on Monday morning that “A lot of us are free agents, it won’t be the same next year,” the team’s fan base inhaled deeply. The Stamps remain the elite franchise in the CFL; they can make another championship run in 2017, but their chances of winning it all are stronger if McDaniel is running routes for this team and not another one.
  7. If Solomon Elimimian re-signs in BC, then are the Lions the team to beat next season? The BC Lions are not a one-year wonder; this team has depth, solid young talent and a renewed commitment to winning. There is no reason to think that free agent linebacker Solomon Elimimian will sign with another team. So, presuming he comes back, can BC dethrone Calgary in the West?
  8. Have four years of frustration boiled over in Hamilton? They lost the Grey Cup game in 2013. They lost the Grey Cup game in 2014. They lost in the division final in 2015. They lost in the division semifinals in 2016. Are the TiCats heading in the wrong direction? And if they are, will head coach Kent Austin take the fall? Don’t forget that over the past four years, Hamilton has posted a 36-36 regular season record.
  9. Is James Franklin trade bait in Edmonton? Mike Reilly is the franchise in Edmonton, so James Franklin has no chance to replace him as the team’s starting quarterback. Franklin is young and talented, and he could fetch players that would add depth to the Eskimos squad. Franklin to Winnipeg? Saskatchewan? Toronto? Or does the Esks’ front office see him as simply too valuable, and therefore offers him a pay raise?
  10. Will the pass interference rules be tweaked or torn apart? The pass interference rule in the Canadian Football League is a joke. So, here’s one proposal for fixing it: Call “PI” only in those circumstances in which the defensive player’s actions had a direct impact on the play. Drop the nonsensical “PI” calls on a guy who was 20 yards removed from the play.
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