February 11, 2024

Communication Window offers free agency preview

Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

TORONTO — The CFL Free Agency Communication Window gave us a glimpse into what’s to come on February 13, when the CFL’s Free Agency period officially opens.

Donnovan Bennett and Marshall Ferguson broke it all down on this week’s edition of The Waggle Podcast, including Chris Streveler‘s return to Winnipeg, William Stanback signing with the BC Lions, Jermarcus Hardrick signing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and more.

Arguably the biggest news of the week were the reported departures of the Toronto Argonauts and the reported signings by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. But the CFL Free Agency Communication Window featured a flurry of news across the league with several important moves being made by the teams.

In Winnipeg, the Bombers were able to extend the contracts of Brady Oliveira and Dalton Schoen, securing two of their top weapons on offence in an attempt to replicate a league-leading offensive effort in 2024.

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The Bombers had already extended other core pieces like Stanley Bryant and Willie Jefferson, mitigating losses like the reported departures of Hardrick to Regina and Demerio Houston to Calgary.

“Congratulations Kyle Walters and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers,” said Ferguson about Winnipeg retaining both Oliveira and Schoen. “If you had lost them you would have been losing two of the top five – depending on your opinion – available free agents. Especially in that system.”

Houston reportedly leaves Winnipeg after leading the league in interceptions in 2023 with seven, taking his ball-hawking talents to Alberta to give the Stampeders a big boost to their secondary.

Another signing that made waves during the week was running back William Stanback agreeing to a deal with the BC Lions. The veteran running back leaves the Montreal Alouettes after five seasons to join the Orange and Black.

The veteran had been released by the Als – and thus was available to sign with any team – and now brings a backfield presence to complement a pass-oriented offence in Vancouver.

“The thing that was missing was variety,” said Ferguson about BC’s offence. “You can be the indoor team that throws it all over the place and that is great. But when you have to go into Winnipeg for a Western Final you better be able to throw an off-speed pitch once in a while.


“It really helps if a couple of times a game on second-and-six you can run the football in a way that you have a big physical back that can run through arm tackles.”

A team that also went after a stellar player during the week was the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who reportedly agreed to a deal with defensive back Jamal Peters.

Ferguson pointed out that not only is Peters a great addition for Hamilton’s secondary, it also keeps the Ticats from having to face the talented defender three to four times a year.

“That’s a big win for Hamilton and a huge subtraction for Toronto,” said Ferguson.

Another piece the Argonauts are set to lose is running back AJ Ouellette, who has been reported to have agreed to a deal with the Roughriders to play under new head coach Corey Mace.

With only five of the CFL.ca’s Top 30 pending free agents available, rosters are starting to take shape as we approach the 2024 season. That said, there are several players that will be available that could be difference makers this next season, including defensive lineman Mathieu Betts and wide receiver Tim White.

The CFL’s Free Agency period opens on February 13, 2024 at noon ET.

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