CFL free agent rankings: specialists

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

It’s officially February, which means it’s time to start looking at how pending free agents will be viewed if they hit the open market.

We will be ranking all the top pending free agents by position and nationality over the next eight days. After that we will produce a big board featuring the top 25 free agents from across the league.

We will start with the specialists — kickers, returners, and long snappers. Check back tomorrow for our ranking of defensive backs.





1) Ronnie Pfeffer, Toronto Argonauts

The Wilfrid Laurier product had a quietly productive season with the Boatmen, posting a solid 37.7 net-yard average on 76 punts.

2) Zack Medeiros, Toronto Argonauts

The 29-year-old posted a decent 32.6 net yards per punt in Toronto and is also capable of contributing as a placekicker.

3) Josh Bartel, B.C. Lions

The 34-year-old posted a 33.4 net-yard average on 73 punts in 2019.



1) Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The 26-year-old led the CFL with a combined 2,020 yards on punt and kickoff returns, also scoring two touchdowns. He was a league all-star in 2019 and was named the East Division’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.

2) Terry Williams, Calgary Stampeders

The 27-year-old finished second in the CFL in combined yards (2,147) while also performing spot duty in Calgary’s backfield.

3) Chris Rainey, Toronto Argonauts

Rainey led the CFL in combined yards (2,183) despite his return numbers dropping somewhat from his days with the B.C. Lions.

4) Shakeir Ryan, Montreal Alouettes

The 24-year-old only appeared in seven games last season but managed to break a few big plays, including a 101-yard punt return against Saskatchewan.

5) Marcus Thigpen, Saskatchewan Roughriders

He’ll be 34 by the time the season starts, but Thigpen continues to be elusive in the return game while also contributing at running back.



Long snappers




1) Martin Bédard, free agent

Montreal signed free agent long snapper Mike Benson this past week, likely ending the 35-year-old’s eleven-year run with the team.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.