With Free Agency just a few weeks away, there’s plenty of talent holding expiring contracts.
Among those that could hit the open market on February 8 are a plethora of Canadians that any general manager would be ecstatic to have on their roster.
Here are my top 20 Canadian pending free agents.
20. David Ungerer
WR | HAM
With Mike Jones gone to Edmonton, Ungerer stepped into the Ticats wide side receiver position and earned 17 more targets than his rookie season of 2019 with a high production rate per catch.
19. Jeshrun Antwi
RB | MTL
Anytime William Stanback needed a breath in his standout 2021 campaign, Jeshrun Antwi jumped into the Montreal backfield and kept the ball rolling down hill.
18. Spencer Moore
FB | MTL
Moore is a big bodied veteran who can move and play special teams with the best. He’s a Hamilton native, McMaster graduate and could find a fit in black and gold with Nikola Kalinic released to pursue NFL opportunities.
17. Jacob Dearborn
DB | SSK
While he might be in Beijing right now as an olympic bobsled athlete, Dearborn’s potential is growing with an increased feel for the CFL game with every snap in Saskatchewan including a late-season interception against Edmonton.
16. Nolan Macmillan
OL | OTT
A cornerstone of the Ottawa REDBLACKS protection, Macmillan likely won’t leave if history serves as evidence of franchise offensive lineman but Macmillan’s skill set and understanding will attract many suitors if he gets to February 8.
15. Mitchell Picton
WR | SSK
With Brayden Lenius off to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, it’s time for Picton to take on a more prominent role in the offence to offset the loss of Canadian production.
14. Sean Whyte & Rene Parades
K | EDM & CGY
I’m usually against putting kickers on lists like this, but leaving Sean Whyte OR Rene Parades off a top Canadians list under any circumstances would be unfair thanks to their exceptional accuracy and consistency.
13. Stefan Charles
DL | OTT
After six seasons bouncing around the NFL, the Oshawa native came north to Edmonton before landing in Ottawa this past season as one of the few spotlight worthy individuals.
12. David Menard
DL | MTL
Finishing tied for fourth in the CFL with eight sacks, Menard sent a message in 2021. The question now becomes will a team buy in at full value or be scared by the threat of a one year wonder?
11. Hunter Steward
OL | BC Lions
The long time Lions left guard will now have to block for a Micheal Reilly-free BC passing game. Does he want to play out his productive days as a Lion or cash in on his years of service on the West coast?
10. Cameron Judge
LB | TOR
Sideline to sideline with the best of them, Judge made the Argos defence feel different and improved before suffering a late-season injury.
9. Henoc Muamba
LB | TOR
The man in the middle carried himself with grace through a painful Eastern Final loss endearing himself further to the Double Blue faithful. A decade into his career, Henoc is still a top 10 Canadian at any position.
8. Vincent Desjardins
DL | CGY
A name you might not know much about or appreciate on the day-to-day, but I’ve long been a fan of Desjardins’ game since watching his Laval USPORTS tape. Beware Danny Maciocia swapping out Menard for a less expensive Desjardins in Montreal.
7. Kwaku Boateng
DE | Edmonton Elks
Based on Chris Jones’ track record of roster construction leaning towards freaky American body types at defensive end, Boateng might be the biggest name likely to switch rosters this spring. While 2021 was a down year for him, the raw skill and pass rush passion is all there and ready to be signed.
6. Michael Couture
OL | WPG
5. Jevon Cottoy
WR | BC Lions
If I were to sculpt an ideal big body Canadian receiver it would look like Jevon Cottoy. The Langley Rams CJFL alumni has flirted with the NFL here and there, but if he’s back in the CFL this summer expect an increased workload and the spoils that will come with it.
4. Royce Metchie
DB | CGY
When Tunde Adeleke left in free agency for Hamilton, Metchie became the solution in Calgary and when healthy has as much range as any Canadian free safety in the league.
3. Andrew Harris
RB | WPG
Do the Bombers maintain the legacy status of Andrew Harris in their uniform for fear of seeing him haunt them in Riders green or any other? Harris has already surpassed the status quo for Canadian running back longevity and success but when will the team he’ll be remembered most for representing have to make a difficult decision and prioritize less expensive youth?
2. Sean Thomas-Erlington
RB | Hamilton Tiger-Cats
When healthy, STE is as good a running back as there is in the CFL regardless of national status. He’s beloved in Hamilton but if you think all other eight teams wouldn’t salivate at the right price for a chance to dress the Montreal native in their colours, you’re lying to yourself.
1. Mark Korte
OL | OTT
The words used around Mark Korte this year when I called REDBLACKS games were ‘elite and leader.’ Along with Evan Johnson and Drew Desjarlais, Korte is in the upper echelon of rising star Canadian offensive lineman now. Will he stay in Ottawa with the team that drafted him or head West to be closer to home? Joining Chris Jones’ and Stephen McAdoo’s running attack in his home town of Edmonton is the most logical fit if Korte leaves the nation’s capital.