Reigning CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player Willie Jefferson has been busy on the phone during the league’s new negotiating window.
Six of the nine @CFL teams have had conversations with pending free agent @Stmn_Willie_Bmn. The only ones that have NOT are Ottawa, Edmonton and Sask. A return to @Wpg_BlueBombers tops his wish list but buzz around the league is @TorontoArgos will come in strong. #CFL
— David William Naylor (@TSNDaveNaylor) February 6, 2020
Jefferson posted a career-high 12 sacks, forced six fumbles and knocked down a CFL single-season record 16 passes. He added 24 tackles, five tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and one interception. The 28-year-old was named a CFL all-star for the third straight season.
The six-foot-seven, 245-pound defensive lineman was a one man wrecking crew in the 2019 CFL championship game, recording three sacks and forcing two fumbles to help the Winnipeg Blue Bombers upset Hamilton in the Grey Cup 33-12, hoisting the big silver trophy for the first time in 29 years.
After the green and white offered him less than $175,000, Jefferson negotiated his own free agent contract because he felt the offer was below market value. He inked a one-year contract worth $210,000 with Winnipeg that included the following: a $100,000 signing bonus; $90,000 base salary; $15,000 housing; and $5,000 travel. The disruptive pass rusher performed in his first season with the Bombers.
There is substantial interest around the league for Jefferson, but the real offers won’t hit the table until the free agent market opens on February 11.