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As the February 11th free agency deadline nears, CFL.ca is breaking down each team’s potential needs, wants and wish lists. Today we take a look at the BC Lions.
It is a case of ‘good news-bad news for BC Lions general manager Wally Buono. The good news is he has the shortest potential free agent list in the CFL. The bad news is that two of the five remaining could be a pair of the most sought-after FAs to hit the market should they decide to test the waters.
Undoubtedly their priority is to retain receiver Nick Moore who has emerged as the Lions primary threat in the passing game after spending time in the shadows of the now-departed Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce. Moore caught 73 passes for 1,105 yards and six touchdowns last season which was good for third overall in the CFL.
The other major piece that could fall out of BC’s puzzle is Keron Williams. Easily one of the league’s most feared pass-rushers, Williams has been a force for four of his eight CFL seasons in Orange and Black and could test the market for the first time since signing in 2010.
The work done so far:
It has arguably been one of the quietest off-seasons in a long time in Vancouver. Other than the recent trade of Korey Banks to Winnipeg and a re-aligning of their coaching staff, the Leos short free agent list is telling in an off-season that has seen little movement.
The obvious impact departures could be Moore and Williams but the Lions also stand to lose defensive back Josh Bell who became one of their more reliable defensive backs last season. At this point, they also stand to lose RB Stu Foord and OL Steve Myddelton.
Who may be on the radar:
BC doesn’t have any truly pressing needs which is a testament to the work of GM Wally Buono over the last number of years. The Leos could look to add another playmaker in the passing game, regardless of what happens with Moore. Chris Matthews is coming off a less-than-stellar sophomore campaign which was hampered by injuries and could be looking for a change of scenery. BC might be a good fit for the rangy receiver who could thrive under a developed offence and one where he doesn’t have to be the go-to receiver on every series.
If Moore does indeed depart, cap space may be freed up to bring in an impact receiver such as Cary Koch, should the speedster not re-sign in Edmonton. A sure-handed receiver with big-play ability, Koch could be an immediate gap-filler for a team that can’t afford to lose another no. 1 receiver.
Should the Lions lose out of Williams, a solid and likely cheaper replacement could be Saskatchewan Roughrider Jermaine McElveen. An experienced defensive lineman that has shown that he can make plays when asked to could help fill a gap left by Williams or at least provide some depth. Along the same lines, the Leos could look at landing Edmonton Eskimos DE Brandon Lang who will be entering his third CFL season out of Troy.