The CFL’s Top 10 free agents (UPDATED Feb. 14)


UPDATED FEB. 14 — Changes in blue

UPDATED: FEB. 13 — Changes in red

Free agency in the Canadian Football League begins on Tuesday. Here is my list of the current top 10 players available.

This list will be updated if any of these players sign with their 2016 team in advance of Tuesday.

  1. Ernest Jackson, REC, OTT: Was his fate sealed when the REDBLACKS inked Greg Ellingson to a new deal a couple days ago? Looks that way. Jackson had more than 1,200 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions for the champs.
  2. Derek Dennis, OL, CGY: One of the reasons the Stamps offense has been so lethal in recent years is that quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell has time to throw the ball. And Dennis is one of the reasons why. He was the league’s top offensive lineman in 2016.
  3. Marquay McDaniel, REC, CGY: The only reason a team might hesitate to sign McDaniel is that he’s 32; other available receivers are younger. But McDaniel is the “we need a catch right now to extend a drive” player. Stamps and McDaniel came to terms on a multi-year deal on Feb. 13. 
  4. Abdul Kanneh, DB, OTT: His stats don’t tell the story of how good a defender this guy is. His size doesn’t tell the story of how good a defender this guy is. His departure would help tell the story of how good a defender this guy is.
  5. Khalil Bass, LB, WPG: He was top 10 in total tackles; and he had a knack for getting to the ball, registering four fumbles, four sacks and two interceptions. There aren’t a lot of top linebackers available; that makes him even more valuable this year.
  6. Emanuel Davis, DB, HAM: He’s had 10 interceptions over the past two years, and he’s missed only one game in that time. Put this guy in your lineup and you have a guaranteed all-star, a recognition he’s earned the past two seasons.
  7. Nolan MacMillan, OL: OTT: The best Canadian offensive lineman available. Enough said in a league where ratios are important. Had he played a full season in 2016, his value would be even more obviousMacMillan signed a deal with the REDBLACKS on late Feb. 13. 
  8. Chris Williams, REC, OTT: Let’s be honest: If Williams hadn’t torn up his knee late in the 2016 season, he wouldn’t be on this list; the REDBLACKS would have signed him by now.
  9. Micah Johnson, DL: CGY: He was a beast in the interior line last season, with 36 tackles and seven sacks. Sure, having Charleston Hughes around makes Johnson more dangerous, but there’s real talent here. Johnson will stay in Calgary after signing a deal on Feb. 13.
  10. Diontae Spencer, REC, TOR: He didn’t play in six games last season and still ended up with about six catches a game. Project that over 18 games and he hauls in more than 100 receptions. That stat would look good on any team.
  11. Added on Feb. 13, replaces McDaniel: Shakir Bell, RB, EDM: He’s young, and he hasn’t had much chance to shine in Edmonton. Bell won’t get that chance as long as Jon White is around. 
  12. Added on Feb. 13, replaces Johnson: Kenny Shaw, REC, TOR: He had more than 1,000 receiving yards and five touchdowns for a team that had no consistency at quarterback in 2016. A fresh start might be exactly what Shaw needs. But reports on Monday suggested the Argos want to keep Shaw.
  13. Added Feb. 14, replaces MacMillan: Terrell Sinkfield, REC, BC: Speed, speed, speed. It’s a bit surprising that the Lions are willing to part with Sinkfield, who seems to always be thisclose to making his mark in the CFL.
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