Eight players the Ticats should try hardest to re-sign

Earlier we looked at players the Ticats should try to bring in, but what about the team’s own players who are scheduled to be free agents in February? Which of the 28 Ticats players currently unsigned should the Ticats try their hardest to bring back?

1. Terrence Toliver, receiver

Hamilton has a lot of receivers eligible for free agency, but none may be more crucial to get back into the fold than Toliver. No. 80 had a career year in 2016, leading the team in touchdowns, while also finishing third on the team in catches and second in yards. He also notched the first 1,000-yard season of his professional career. At 28, and after two solid seasons, the former LSU Tiger might try to make an NFL roster, but if that doesn’t pan out, the Tabbies would do well to get him locked up as soon as possible. He will have plenty of suitors if he makes it to market in February.

2. Xavier Fulton, offensive tackle

Hamilton has had a revolving door at left tackle the last two years, but the acquisition of Fulton late in the season seemed to solidify that position. There are better, and younger tackles possibly available, but the Ticats could save themselves some stress by getting Fulton inked before free agency opens.

3. Emanuel Davis, defensive back

The one stalwart in Hamilton’s secondary in 2016 was Davis. He started 17 games — the only game he misses was when he was rested in the final week of the season — and was easily Hamilton’s best defensive back in 2016. He bet on himself and signed a one-year deal after a breakout 2015 season, so after a second straight all-star campaign, he may give the NFL a shot. Like Toliver, if he chooses to stay up north, the Ticats need to get him signed.

4. Kevin Elliott, receiver

After signing in Hamilton following his surprising release from Toronto, Elliott was nothing short of spectacular. In three games with the Ticats, Elliott caught 15 passes for 220 yards and one score. He gave a spark to a passing offense that needed one following injuries to Andy Fantuz, Chad Owens and Luke Tasker. Elliott showed he can be an elite, go-to receiver in Hamilton and the Ticats would be smart to bring him back to see what he can do with the team over a full season.

5. Chad Owens, receiver

Despite a lot of hemming and hawing, especially from yours truly, the Chad Owens signing was a success for the Ticats before an injury ended his season prematurely. Owens was on pace for his best season since winning MOP in 2012 and showed he still had a lot to offer in the passing game. Concerns about whether he can play a full season are valid, but the positives still outweigh the negatives and a second season for the Flyin’ Hawaiian in Ticats colours would be a welcome sight.

6. Andy Fantuz, receiver

Yes, he probably won’t play at all in 2016, but keeping Andy Fantuz in the fold would be a wise decision by the team. He had a career resurgence in 2016 and showed he is still the elite Canadian pass catcher in the CFL. Fantuz may only have a couple of seasons left and those seasons should be spent in Hamilton.

7. Canadian depth: Anthony Woodson, Matt Coates

Hamilton lost a lot of quality depth players last offseason and they are in danger of losing more this offseason, so it would be wise to lock at least a few of them up. They got the ball rolling early by re-signing Mike Daly, but there are a couple others that deserve new deals. Anthony Woodson may see very little time on offense, but he provides depth for C.J. Gable, who does miss time, and also plays a significant role on special teams, and Matt Coates has proven in his limited playing time that he is a guy the team can rely on. Coates is a former Hamilton Hurricane and that hometown connection could help in re-signing him. While that isn’t the case for Woodson, he has been in Hamilton the last two seasons, and is a valued member of the team. Getting both under contract for 2017 and beyond would be a smart move.

Must Read