As free agency nears, CFL.ca is breaking down each team’s potential needs, wants and wish lists. Today we take a look at the Montreal Alouettes.
For the first time in a long time, the Montreal Alouettes will start a season without the familiar face of Anthony Calvillo manning their offence.
And while losing his starting quarterback of almost two decades to retirement might seem like Jim Popp’s biggest problem heading into the 2014 season, a quick look at his current unsigned free agents indicates otherwise.
|Making a Splash?|
Suffice to say, as the Feb. 11 free agency period continues its rapid approach, Popp and the rest of his staff still have plenty of pens to put to paper.
The Work Done So Far:
However, that’s not to say Popp hasn’t already crossed a few names off his free agency to-do list.
Beginning just prior to the New Year, Popp managed to extend the contracts of Montreal mainstays such as Canadians Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, Marc-Olivier Brouillette, Daryl Townsend and Michael Carter, as well as imports Billy Parker, Alan-Michael Cash and Ed Gainey.
Popp also dipped into the free agent pool a little early, bringing non-import slotback Dave Stala back into the fold. Stala was released by the Tiger-Cats just one day before re-joining the Alouettes.
Aside from the Calvillo news, arguably the most significant transactions of Montreal’s off-season to date were the extensions of quarterbacks Troy Smith and Tanner Marsh.
Smith, who finished the 2013 season as the team’s starter, appears primed to take over Calvillo’s mantle under centre.
The reason for any concern starts with the big names that are, as of now, set to become free agents once the proverbial clock strikes midnight.
Right now, the Als have five starters who are set to hit the open market.
Among them are 2011 Most Outstanding Lineman Josh Bourke and hard-hitting linebacker Shea Emry. Kicker Sean Whyte and veteran linebacker Kyries Hebert and offensive tackle Michael Ola are also on the veer of testing free agency.
Other Notables: QB Josh Neiswander, RB Noel Devine, FB Martin Bedard.
Who may be on the radar?:
Should both Emry and Hebert hit the market, logic dictates that Popp will be targeting linebackers. However, given the emergence of Brouillette, and 2013 super rookie Mike Edem, Popp might set his sights elsewhere.
That said, looking at the Alouette roster, there appears to be a need for a Canadian receiver. Fitting that description are potential free agents Akeem Foster and Mike Bradwell.
However, as history shows us, Popp is never afraid to make a big splash, which is why it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the highly talented Nick Moore or Keron Williams ends up signing with Montreal.