The Tiger-Cats may enter free agency as the most unpredictable based solely on the fact that the man making the decisions has no prior experience in his role. Will newly-appointed General Manager and Head Coach Kent Austin be a major player or will he sit back and wait to harvest his team through the draft?
One thing is for sure, and that is times are changing in Hamilton at all the major decision-making levels. In is Austin, out is veteran Bob O’Billovich and George Cortez and with complete say in the football operations, Austin could use this as an opportunity to make his first major mark on the Black and Gold.
In year’s past, the Cats have not been shy to go after some of the more high-priced free agents, most recently inking WR Andy Fantuz last year.
The work done so far:
Unlike some of the other CFL clubs, the Ticats have spent significant time trimming their roster and dumping salary as opposed to retaining contracts. Quarterback Quinton Porter and defensive backs Geoff Tisdale and Carlos Thomas headline a long list of now former ‘Cats let loose since the season ended.
The core free agents are still there however, with offensive linemen Marwan Hage and Peter Dyakowski along with running back Daryl Stephenson all signing extensions in the last month.
The Ticats list of pending free agents is not too lengthy. Perhaps the most crucial retention needed is offensive lineman Brian Simmons who has become an important member of a once-aging o-line that was forced to go younger due to injury last season.
Although numerous defenders were let go in mid-January there remains to pieces of the Ticats secondary that the ‘Cats may look to re-sign. Both DB Chris Rwabukamba and DB Marcell Young are without new deals but may be allowed to test the waters as the ‘Cats implement a new defence.