A New No. 1: The Top-20 CFL free agents

The first two days of CFL free agency has seen a number of high-profile players change teams while others have elected to re-sign with their former clubs. Now, as the dust begins to settle, we’re starting to see the inevitable fall out from some of those early moves as teams look to find additional cap space. Let’s have a look at the Top-20 players now available as ranked by Justin Dunk, Drew Edwards and John Hodge. We’ll update these rankings as players are signed.

1. Henoc Muamba, national LB, SSK
Age: 29
Starts in 2017 (career): 13 (50)
Key stats: 82 tackles, 11 special teams tackles, two interceptions in 2017
Notes: Muamba takes the top spot on the list after being released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Wednesday. A ratio-breaking linebacker, Muamba is a legitimate CFL starter who few expected to be available. He’ll command a pretty penny, however, as nationals of this calibre always do.

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. 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.

4. Taylor Reed, international LB, 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.

5. Danny Groulx, national OL, 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.

6. Brett Maher, international K, 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.

7. Bear Woods, international LB, 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.

8. Ronnie Yell, international DB, 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.

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

10. Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, international DE, 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.

11. Jerrell Gavins, international DB, 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.

12. Craig Roh, international DE, 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.

13. Kirby Fabien, national OL, 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.

14. Eddie Steele, national DL, 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.

15. Sam Giguere, national REC, 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.

16. Marquay McDaniel, international REC, CAL
Age: 33
Starts in 2017: 15
Key stats: 65 catches for 860 yards and four TDs
Notes: Reliable veteran receiver who was a salary cap casualty on Calgary.

17. Keelan Johnson, international DB, 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.

18. Carl-Olivier Prime, national FB, HAM
Age: 28
Starts in 2017: 18GPs, 0 starts
Key stats: 2 catches in 2017, seven in his career. 6 carries in five seasons.
Notes: Though hardly an offensive juggernaut, Prime is a physical, durable – he hasn’t missed a game in four years – and intelligent player.

19. Travon Van, international RB, EDM
Age: 26
Starts in 2017: 4
Key stats: 71 carries, 283 yards, 17 catches, 69 yards, 4 TDs.
Notes: Van has shown plenty of ability in three CFL seasons but hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

20. Fred Plesius, national LB, MTL
Age: 30
Starts in 2017: 0 (7 GP)
Key stats: 7 special teams tackles
Notes: Injury-plagued season in 2017, though typically among league leaders in special teams tackles.