CFL.ca's top 20 most significant moves of the off-season | CFL.ca | Official Site of the Canadian Football League
 
 

Higgins Hired in Montreal: Kicking off our list is Montreal's hiring of Tom Higgins as their new head coach. Higgins
seems like the safe pick for the Als, who will be looking towards their new sideline boss to lead them in a positive
direction in what will be their first season of the Post-Calvillo era. Look for a well-structured team on the field of
Molson Stadium in 2014.

Watkins Island in Edmonton: When the Eskimos announced the signing of Pat Watkins on day two of free agency,
you can almost feel Chris Jones' excitement beaming all the way across the country. Watkins will certainly boost an
Edmonton defence that ranked last in the West with 15 interceptions.

Holding Harris: Andrew Harris' extension in BC is significant for a myriad of reasons. For starters, having a young,
elite Canadian tailback in your arsenal never hurts. Secondly, after taking a slight step back statistically in 2013,
the Lions displayed some confidence in Harris that could prove to be a turning point in the 27-year-old's career.
But confidence and trust is a two-way street. How will Harris respond on the field to his shiny new deal?

Emry Jumps Aboard: SheaEmry's arrival in Toronto automatically improves the calibre of the Boatmen's front seven.
Look for him to shine brightly in new defensive coordinator Tim Burke's defence.

Hello Nick, Good bye Terrence: Nick Moore's signing in Winnipeg was an important grab for the Bombers to begin with. But it was made even more important on February 18, when Terrence Edwards retired after nine CFL seasons. Is Moore now the undisputed leader of Winnipeg's receiving corps? Or was that title handed over to him the day he put pen to paper?

Bonjour, Ocho: Arriving in incredible shape, and to plenty of fanfare, Chad Johnson was the talk of the CFL world
during his three-day workout with the Als, which ultimately led to his two-year deal with the team. Where does he
fit in on a roster that has arguably the most talent at the import receiver position in the league?

Kavis Out, Chris In: The Eskimos dismissed Kavis Reed prior to the 2013 Grey Cup Playoffs and replaced him with
Chris Jones almost immediately following the 101st Grey Cup. Ed Hervey said he was looking for "himself" when
searching for his new head coach. Did he accomplish that goal with Jones?

He Willy be #1: Drew Willy was brought to Winnipeg for one reason, and one reason only: Be the number one QB
that the fans and team have been longing for. Under the tutelage of Marcel Bellefeuille, Willy could be what the
entire city has been looking for.

Switching Sides: Granted an early release by the Argonauts to get a head start on free agency, Collaros's arrival
in Steeltown, combined with the eventual release of Henry Burris made for some intriguing headlines across the
nation in late January. But what will the headlines read from July through November?

Setting Sail: The off-season exodus in Toronto is one that will force Jim Barker to test his organization's depth.
Marcus Ball, Khalif Mitchell and Dontrelle Inman were all released to pursure opportunities in the NFL. Will the
Boatmen be able to fill their vacant spots adequately?

Maintaining the Pillars: From the front office, to the sideline, to behind centre, the Riders moved quick to secure
their three pillars of success in Brendan Taman, Corey Chamblin and Darian Durant. How do the successful stay
successful? Consistency and continuity seems to be the theme in Riderville.

Campbell Gets His Team: "Rick is a coach who earned this opportunity," said REDBLACKS GM Marcel Desjardins on  December 6, the day Ottawa named Rick Campbell their first head coach in team history. Campbell will finally get a chance to call something his own, and he'll an equal chance to build it from the very start. If the REDBLACKS surprise everyone in 2014, Campbell will be a major reason why.

Securing the Future: After losing Kevin Glenn to the REDBLACKS in the Expansion Draft, John Hufnagel moved
quick to secure both Drew Tate and Bo Levi Mitchell, announcing extensions for the two pivots at the same time.
Regardless of who starts in their season opener on June 28 against the Alouettes, the Stamps appear set on youth
at the QB spot.

Henoc Heads South: With Kyle Walters and Mike O'Shea locked in off the field, the Bombers seemed poised to
start finally developing some positive traction on the field. But Henoc Muamba's move to the NFL was certainly
something they wish hadn't happened. Simply put, impact Canadian middle linebackers like Muamba are few and
far in between.

Dressler's Departure:  With names like Chris Getzlaf, Taj Smith, Geroy Simon and Rob Bagg still in Rider Green,
Dressler's release doesn't appear to be as troubling to the Riders as one might think. Nonetheless, the absence of
Dressler will force one of the aforementioned pass catchers to step up in his place. Will his departure hurt the Riders  as much as some might think?

A New Era: As mentioned above, the combination of Kyle Walters and Mike O'Shea means progress in Winnipeg.
Walters added some talent to the roster during free agency, while the May 13 CFL Draft is another opportunity for
the duo to take a big step forward.

Running Away: How do you replace Kory Sheets? If the Riders' plan was to do so with Jock Sanders, then they're
out of luck on that front, as he signed with the Stamps as a free agent. Looking at the Riders' current running backs,
there doesn't appear to be any specific name that stands out as a suitable replacement. Should fans be concerned?

Banking on Burris: Shortly after the REDBLACKS selected Kevin Glenn in the Expansion Draft, they surprised many
by signing veteran QB Henry Burris, who was released by the Tiger-Cats to make room for Zach Collaros. Burris is
a massive get for an Ottawa team that will need some veteran presence if the going indeed gets tough for the
expansion franchise.

Calvillo Hangs 'Em Up: Slotting in at number two, but not too far behind number one, is the retirement of football's
all-time leading passer, Anthony Calvillo. Simply put, it's been long said that the Als will go as far as Calvillo can take them. And now that he's no longer able to do so, will the Als be the same team in 2014?

Expansion Draft Haul: Technically a collection of moves, the Expansion Draft was an event that will shape the direction of the REDBLACKS for years to come, if not forever. Not only did the Expansion Draft get the ball rolling on the field, it allowed the team to start further shaping an identity for themselves off of it. A clear number one.

Fan Poll
Do you agree with our list?
1) Yes
2) No

Fan Comments
newCFLfan081779
For the most part, for what its worth, I agree with D-Gap-Willie. I suppose though that the Bomber's new coach would be #5, while the Esks is #14 and Als #20, because that's the inverse order in which those teams finished last year. Since 'Peg struggled the most they needed the change the most, and more is riding on Walters's shoulders because Winnipeg needs more of a turnaround than the Als who made the playoffs. In any case, best of luck to all nine teams and June sure can't come soon enough
April 27, 2014 - 3:55pm
 
als rule
BC lions FYI: wallyworld has reported that their draft choice OL danny watkins has retired from football both north and south of the border!!
April 27, 2014 - 2:15pm
 
D-Gap-Willie
A list is fine but ranking them 1 to 20 really serves no purpose, other than creating animosity. Pretty tough to tell fans in Montreal that their new coach is #20, while the new coach in Edmonton is #14, and in Winnipeg their new coach is #5. List is OK but dump the rankings.
April 27, 2014 - 9:33am
als rule
@DGW: agree absolutely!!
April 27, 2014 - 3:20pm
 
Pat
I don't see how Cavillo's retirement made the list. They already have played a good deal without him and already have his replacement so the impact was last year not this year
April 25, 2014 - 6:38pm
als rule
@P: WHAT?!! yes there was an impact last season BUT his retirement this season is the MAJOR impact that will be felt starting at mini camp, followed by TC, regular season and playoffs!! from the get go this no longer is AC's team where as last year right up to seasons end it was AC's team!! whole different attitude, feeling and goal in 2014!!
April 25, 2014 - 8:48pm
Restalot
I'm with you Pat, the Cavillo story is last year. I was ready to throw the Al's under the bus for 2014 but I have a lot of respect for Higgens (#20 on the list), who may be the presence this team needs to move on. Higgens and Cavillo are also both class acts, which should help keep the team professional.
April 25, 2014 - 10:10pm
als rule
@R: agree HC higgins is top shelf and remember he has a bevy of talented players at every position!! AC's retirement isn't last year's story it's this seasons!! now matter who finished the year last season as QB for montreal it still was #13's team & everyone in the world knew that!! 2014 now becomes from mini camp onward #3 troy smith's team now that AC has retired!! as a result that's the story for 2014!!
April 26, 2014 - 5:14pm
 
Corbin W
Pretty much dead on. Has me getting pretty excited for July.
April 25, 2014 - 4:29pm