December 8, 2023

Top 3 Pending FAs on Every West Team

TORONTO — To rise (or to stay) on top you have to find a way to retain the best.

That’s exactly what teams are doing as they prepare for the opening of the free agency period on February 13, 2024.

The Bombers have already retained one of their best in extending pass rusher Willie Jefferson, while trying to keep intact the core of the team that made it to four straight Grey Cups.

The West Division promises to stay competitive in 2023 as the BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Elks make their own roster moves. brings you the top three pending free agents for every West Division team:

 Top 3 pending FAs on every East team
» Cauz: Pending FAs that you can’t picture anywhere else
»’s top 30 pending free agents


Starting with the biggest name set to hit the market, running back Brady Oliveira is not just another pending free agent. The National runner is coming off a career-best year that saw him go over 2,000 yards from scrimmage as one of the central pieces of Winnipeg’s offence. Any team in the league would benefit from the services of Oliveira, who also led the league in rushing yards with 1,534, alongside nine majors.

Another All-Star set to hit the market for the Bombers is Dalton Schoen. The star wide receiver had 2,663 receiving yards in his first two years in Winnipeg to go alongside 26 scores. Rounding up the list for the West Division champions is defensive back Demerio Houston, who led the league in interceptions in 2023 with seven.

All three were named to the West Division All-Star teams, with Oliveira winning the Most Outstanding Canadian award for his efforts.


Hatcher (#4) and Hollins (#13) combined for almost 2,400 receiving yards with the Lions in 2023 (Jaclyn McKee/

The Lions trio features a pair of explosive receivers and the leading pass rusher in the CFL. Keon Hatcher and Alexander Hollins combined for 2,399 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 2023 as the Lions torched their opponents through the air.

Stepping up when veteran Dominique Rhymes missed time during the season with an injury, the duo led the way and helped quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. to a career year in his first year as the full-time starter in BC.

Mathieu Betts, meanwhile, led the league while also establishing a new record for National players in sacks with 18. The Montreal native was a disruptive force all year long for the Lions defensive line and should be a coveted asset if he hits the market in February.


Mills led the Stampeders in rushing yards with 806 in 2023 (Daniel Crump/

In his first season with the Red and White, linebacker Micah Awe set a franchise single-season record by recording 134 defensive tackles, the third-highest total in CFL history. Awe also led the CFL with 153 defensive plays, four tackles for loss, six special-teams stops, two sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble and three knockdowns on his way to earning a spot in the West Division All-Star team.

Running back Dedrick Mills is also set to become a free agent in February after posting career highs in 2023. The runner finished with 802 running yards and four majors while replacing veteran Ka’Deem Carey in the lineup for a big part of the season.

Another key player for the Stampeders on the list is kicker Rene Paredes. The veteran had a down year by his own standards, but still converted 86.7 per cent of his field goals at 38 years old. Paredes is just one year removed from going over the 90.0 per cent mark in two consecutive seasons in 2021 and 2022.


Bane Jr. led the Riders in receiving yards in 2023 (Arthur Ward/

Receiver Shawn Bane Jr. had a breakout season with 1,104 receiving yards and four touchdowns as one of the bright spots for the Riders in 2023, showcasing his ability to be a focal point for an offence.

Joining him as a pending free agent is defensive lineman Anthony Lanier II. The 30-yeard-old veteran was one of the most disruptive pass rushers in the CFL in 2023, finishing with the sixth-highest pass-rushing grade (83.5) according to PFF.

Mario Alford is another standout Rider who could become a free agent. The 2022 Most Outstanding Special Teams Player had similar numbers in his first year in Saskatchewan, finishing with 1,181 yards for an average of 23.2 per return and remains of the most dynamic returners in the CFL.


Leonard impacted the game on both sides of the ball for the Elks (The Canadian Press)

A defensive playmaker set to hit the market in February in Edmonton is defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy who had 49 tackles, three interceptions and two touchdowns for the Elks in 2023 as one of the leaders of the defence.

Two other pending free agents for the Green and Gold are defensive lineman/gadget offensive player AC Leonard and wide receiver Kyran Moore. Leonard had 12 sacks and two forced fumbles for the Elks while also featuring on offence twice, catching two passes for 55 yards and a major. Moore meanwhile added added 743 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his first year with the Green and Gold.

The comment system on this website is now powered by the Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!