February 9, 2024

Top 5 PFF graded pending free agents

Matt Smith/CFL.ca

TORONTO — Numbers can help teams make informed decisions when it comes to free agency.

It’s obviously not the only consideration, as the game of football is as complex as they come and there are several numbers (among other factors) that should be considered when making such decisions. One of them is Pro Football Focus’ grading system, another useful tool for teams to decide where to allocate their resources.

To get you up to date with that side of things, CFL.ca brings you the top five graded pending free agents according to PFF:

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More Free Agency news, notes and analysis

PFF utilizes extensive review of game footage to provide additional context for every action on the field. Highly-trained PFF staff break down every game, player and play to provide over 200 unique data points, which are used to compile Player Grades – a numerical representation up-to-100 of performance at their specific position.

For more information on PFF, Player Grades, the Grading Scale and more, please visit pff.com/grades.

Grades are based on players who played a minimum of 100 snaps

Richard Leonard – DB (88.3)

Leonard had the third highest defensive grade and the fifth highest coverage grade among players with at least 100 snaps last season.

The defensive back finished the year with three picks, a sack and 48 defensive tackles while forcing 10 incompletions on the season and could provide the kind of veteran defensive leadership that teams covet in free agency.

Jackson Jeffcoat – DE (85.0)

Speaking of veteran leadership, Jeffcoat was the only player last season to grade above 80.0 in both run defence and pass rushing.

The versatile defensive lineman can do it all, finishing the year with eight sacks, three forced fumbles and 47 total pressures as a disruptive force on Winnipeg’s defence. That said, the veteran is reportedly ready to ride off into the sunset after a stellar career.


Sherrod Baltimore – DB (82.0)

If teams are looking for a pending free agent that excels in coverage, look no further than Baltimore, who allowed only 214 passing yards over 335 coverage snaps.

The veteran defensive back also kept opposing quarterbacks to a 56.7 completion percentage when throwing his way while intercepting two passes.

Hakeem Bailey – DB (81.4)

Another REDBLACKS defensive back rounds up the list after putting up intriguing numbers over a smaller sample size. Bailey played 128 coverage snaps and allowed only two first downs and 91 passing yards when teams lined up to pass.

The young defensive back also forced three incompletions while allowing only 0.8 per cent of the plays thrown on his direction to go over 15 yards.

Jamal Morrow – RB (75.9)

Morrow has improved every year since he entered the league, rushing for 907 yards and four majors in 2023 as the driving force of Saskatchewan’s running game.

The runner registered 43 first downs and 46 missed tackles for the Riders last season, showcasing his elusiveness and ability to move the chains, two skills that could be very valuable for teams looking for a new tailback. With names like AJ Ouellette reportedly already off the market and Brady Oliveira signing an extension with the Blue Bombers, Morrow could be in high demand come February 13.

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