February 28, 2024

Costabile: 3 players that could have big 2024 campaigns

Greg Fulmes/CFL.ca

We’re in the middle of winter and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been daydreaming about warmer days at a CFL stadium somewhere across the country.

Free agency brought about a ton of change across the league with some star players swapping their old colours for new ones and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what each of them are going to do on their new teams.

With that in mind, here are three players that I think could have big campaigns in their new homes in 2024.

» Gas on the Fire: The way too early Power Rankings are here
» Nye: Everything that’s wrong with the Way Too Early Power Rankings
» Buy: 2024 Season Tickets
View: 2024 Season Schedule
O’Leary: Why I like what the Lions have done

Ka’Deem Carey | RB | Toronto Argonauts

How quickly do we forget that Ka’Deem Carey was the top running back in the CFL in 2022 after he missed most of last year dealing with injury. The 31-year-old finished 2022 with a league-leading 1,088 yards on the ground and topped the CFL in rushing touchdowns with 10, playing in only 14 games.

The Argos committed to the run ahead of the 2023 season; I chatted with then running backs coach Edwin Harrison early in the season who told me that it was a point of emphasis for head coach Ryan Dinwiddie to focus on running the ball. And they did just that, finding a ton of success on the ground, with AJ Ouellette enjoying a breakout season carrying the rock for the Double Blue.

I can see Toronto continuing to go with a balanced attack and there’s no way Carey goes another year without a touchdown (he didn’t find the end zone at all in the nine games he played in 2023). Look for him to be hungry to make an impact in his new colours right away.

Javon Leake | RET | Edmonton Elks


It took the Edmonton Elks seven seasons (and eight years including the cancelled 2020 season) to finally score a return touchdown. It was Deontez Alexander that snapped the streak, returning a kickoff in Week 20’s contest against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

With Javon Leake, last year’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player award winner, now in the building in Edmonton, I don’t see the team going that long without a return touchdown again.

Leake scored four punt return touchdowns last season (most return touchdowns in the CFL) and led the league in punt return yards (1,216) and punt return average (15.0). It remains to be seen if we will have a repeat of his award-winning season but one thing I am sure of is that Leake will add a much-anticipated spark to the Elks return game in 2024.

Jameer Thurman | LB | Saskatchewan Roughriders

Jameer Thurman had a standout 2023 season in Hamilton, hitting career-highs in defensive tackles (98) and sacks (five). He also hauled in two interceptions, and tallied four pass knockdowns, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Thurman won a Grey Cup in 2018, one of his four seasons with the Calgary Stampeders, and that season he spent with none other than now Riders head coach Corey Mace.

Having familiarity with a coaching staff is an added plus for Thurman and I think he builds on his success of his year in black and gold when he puts on the Rider green in 2024.

The comment system on this website is now powered by the CFL.ca 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!