What to Expect From Free Agency at the Als
When Kavis Reed was appointed to the position of General Manager in Montreal, he promised to be highly active during Free Agency in his first seasons. And that, he was. In 2018, no fewer than nine players were acquired through CFLFA. This year’s loot should be fairly smaller and it’s all part of the plan.”Don’t expect that we’ll be adding a lot of pieces”, says Reed. ”There are some key guys that we will pursue. If we add three or four that we feel strongly about, we’ll be exactly where we want to be.”
After meeting several times throughout the past months, Reed and Head Coach Mike Sherman identified the team’s needs in all three spheres of the game. Both agree on the necessity to keep building a younger roster, of course. Both also agree on these four priorities:
- Improving the depth of the Canadian content (again and again and again)
- Strengthening the receiving corps
- Adding a solid pass rusher
- Finding a versatile gem who can play at returner, reserve defensive back or perhaps running back
We’ll let you ponder on who among the wide array of Free Agents could best fit the descriptions, but the key word, particularly for points two and four, seems to be complimentary. The team knows what it has in guys like Eugene Lewis, Ernest Jackson and William Stanback, now it needs to fill in the blanks. Ideally, it would pick up a speed receiver who can stretch the field, a possession guy and the yin to Stanback’s yang who can work the backfield and run the outside routes.
While Reed and his peers may not rely heavily on CFLFA for the upcoming season, they will be maximizing their efforts in planning for the draft and open tryouts.
”CFL Free Agency is a way of augmenting your roster. It should not be a way of building it”, Reed explains. ‘‘The draft is number one. The process for 2019 started as soon as we finished drafting last year. Free Agent tryouts are number two as they allow us to develop our own.”
When looking at the acquisitions made through the 2018 CFL draft (i.e. Bo Banner and Jean-Gabriel Poulin) or NCAA tryouts (think of starting d-lineman Woody Baron) and circling back to the prime objective that is to hit the optimal 27-year-old mark, you quickly realize that Free Agency isn’t necessarily at the centre of the renewal process.
As it pans out every year, teams are expected to snatch the most coveted players rather quickly after the bell rings today, Tuesday, February 12, at noon. Despite negotiations still being underway between the league and the PA, fans should be treated to a few unexpected moves. Those who may not be as pressed to ink their deals are seasoned vets. Nonetheless, we’ll be scrolling through our newsfeeds, just as excited as you to witness the changes in the league’s landscape.