CFL free agent rankings: The Top 20

With CFL free agency underway, Justin Dunk, Drew Edwards and John Hodge rank the top-20 CFL players set to hit the market. We’ll update these rankings as players are signed.

1. Jamaal Westerman, national DE, WIN
Age: 32
Starts in 2017: 11
Key stats: 21 tackles, seven sacks
Notes: Soon to be 33-year-old brings instant pass rushing ability and plays the run well plus a Canadian passport. An instant starter for the team that secures him who despite his age has lots of miles left.


2. Bruce Campbell, international OT, SSK
Age: 29
Starts in 2017 (career): 12 (27)
Notes: Campbell came out of retirement in 2017 and immediately solidified the left tackle position in Riderville. Ultra-athletic and just 29, Campbell is the best plug-and-play offensive lineman available league-wide.

3. John White, international RB, EDM
Age: 26
Starts in 2017: 2
Key stats: 20 carries in 2017, almost 1,300 all-purpose yards and nine TDs in 2016.
Notes: White’s a dangerous offensive weapon who is still just 26 years of age. Coming off a torn ACL, White will likely have to prove he can stay healthy in a depth role before again being considered an every-down back.

4. Travis Bond, international G/OT, WIN
Age: 27
Starts in 2017 (career): 16 (28)
Notes: Bond was a CFL all-star in 2016 at the left guard position in Bomberland, but lost his job late last season to national Patrick Neufeld. Bond has tremendous size at 6’7, 360, but there are questions about whether or not he possesses the mobility required to play the tackle position.

5. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, international DB, TOR
Age: 29
Starts in 2017: 11
Key stats: 30 tackles
Notes: Underrated player who has manned the boundary corner spot in Toronto without a lot of fanfare, but he’s legit.

6. Taylor Reed, OTT
Age: 26
Starts in 2017: 18
Key stats: 94 tackles, 4 sacks
Notes: A durable veteran with four CFL seasons and still just 26.

7. Danny Groulx, EDM
Age: 27
Starts in 2017 (career): 6 (12)
Notes: Cut by the Eskimos last month, Groulx will be seen as a solid depth piece (and perhaps even a starter) by a hog-needy club. Almost 28, Groulx has low mileage and great size.

8. Otha Foster, SSK
Age: 29
Starts in 2017: 3
Key stats: 11 tackles, 184 for his career
Notes: If Foster can stay healthy he should be able to reach his old form. Might be a bargain for the team that lands him.

9. Brett Maher, OTT
Age: 28
Stats: 41-of-50 field goals (82 per cent), 46.7-yard punt average
Notes: Maher played all 18 games for the Redblacks and was very reliable. He was the East all-star punter in 2017.

10. Bear Woods, TOR
Age: 31
Starts in 2017: 17
Key stats: 90 tackles, 2 sacks
Notes: An ageing veteran who likely has something left in the tank.

11. Ronnie Yell, BC
Age: 26
Starts in 2017: 18
Key stats: 64 tackles, 3 INT
Notes: Still young with a lot of experience, Yell could boost any secondary he joins.

12. Drew Tate, OTT
Age: 33
Starts in 2017: 1 (18GP)
Key stats: 338 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT.
Notes: Released on Monday, Tate jumps to the top of a thin free agent quarterback class.

13. Juron Criner, OTT
Age: 28
Starts in 2017: 6
Key stats: 18 catches, 201 yards, 3 TDs, 6-foot-3, 220 pounds
Notes: Injuries have limited Criner to just 12 games over the past two seasons but Dunk’s convinced he’s ready for a breakout season if he gets the right opportunity. Guys with his size are rare finds in the CFL.

14. Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, OTT
Age: 29
Starts in 2017: 11
Key stats: eight tackles, three sacks
Notes: His play tailed off last season which will cost him money in free agency, but he has starting experience and potential to reaffirm that role if given the proper opportunity.

15. Jerrell Gavins, OTT
Age: 29
Starts in 2017: 15
Key stats: 41 tackles, 1 INT
Notes: Season-ending ACL injury last October might give some teams pause, but Gavins can still ball.

16. Craig Roh, BC
Age: 27
Starts in 2017: 16
Key stats: 19 tackles, seven sacks
Notes: Roh put together three consistent seasons in B.C. and is in line for a pay bump.

17. Kirby Fabien, BC
Age: 27
Starts in 2017 (career): 18 (64)
Notes: Fabien has never fully bounced back from the devastating knee injury he suffered in his rookie season. A change of scenery would benefit this former first-round pick who is still just 27.

18. Eddie Steele, SSK
Age: 29
Starts in 2017: 18
Key stats: 23 tackles, one sack
Notes: Heart and soul type of player can be valuable to a team if used in a proper role.

19. Sam Giguere, MTL
Age: 32
Starts in 2017: 11
Key stats: 11 catches, 107 yards,1 TD
Notes: A down year for a consistent performer – hardly surprising given Montreal’s offensive struggles.

20. Keelan Johnson, OTT
Age: 28
Starts in 2017: 2
Key stats: 29 special teams tackles, 13 defensive tackles
Notes: Dynamite special teams player who is finding his comfort level on defence.