2021 CFL free agent rankings: offensive linemen

The CFL is a passing league, so if your quarterback can’t stay upright, chances are you’ll be looking up from the bottom of the standings.

A stout offensive line is essential to success and quality homegrown talent makes it that way. The 2021 free agent class is light on import tackles but a handful of quality Canucks are available, most of whom will settle for unprecedentedly low prices due to the current financial climate.

If your team needs help up front, consider this your wishlist.

Americans

1) Chris Schleuger, Montreal Alouettes

The 25-year-old started fourteen games for the Montreal Alouettes at tackle in 2019 including the postseason.

He’s not terrible seasoned, but a thin American tackle market could help the Iowa native get a look elsewhere in the CFL.

2) Justin Renfrow, Free Agent

At 31-years old, Renfrow has had a long career for someone who only recently became a CFL starter.

A converted defensive end from the University of Miami, Renfrow bounced around the NFL before joining the Calgary Stampeders in 2017. He dressed as a back-up in seven games over three seasons with the Stamps before being traded to B.C. mid-way through 2019 and started the final 11 games at right tackle for the Leos.

Signed by Edmonton ahead of the 2020 season, Renfrow was recently released and could help another team in a pinch.

Nationals

1) Matt O’Donnell, Edmonton Football Team

The six-foot-eleven, 350-pound guard is the second-tallest player in the history of professional football. He’s also really good.

O’Donnell started games at guard and tackle this past season as part of an Edmonton offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks in the CFL. He may be turning 32, but all-star Canadian blockers don’t make it to free agency often.

2) Evan Johnson, Ottawa Redblacks

The 2017 first-round pick has been an impact player since joining the Redblacks, proving he can start at guard while also chipping in at tackle.

It’s unlikely that the 26-year-old will be back with Ottawa in 2021. Is it possible that he’ll be playing for his hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders?

3) Tyler Johnstone, Montreal Alouettes

The six-foot-six, 295 blocker came to the CFL as a heralded left tackle from the University of Oregon.

He’s only played in six career games due to knee problems, but the 28-year-old has had a platelet injection since the 2019 season. If he can stay healthy, Johnstone is a true ratio-breaker at tackle.

4) Jason Lauzon-Seguin, Ottawa Redblacks

The Laval product’s career got off to a hot start in 2016 when he was named the East Division’s Most Outstanding Rookie.

Since then he’s missed some time due to injury, starting only seven games in 2019. The 30-year-old should still have some juice left in the tank, though he might be better-served by a move to guard.

5) Mike Filer, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The eight-year veteran had a renaissance season in 2019, helping lead Hamilton to a franchise-best 15-3 regular season record.

The Brantford, Ont. native will be 31 by the time the 2021 season gets underway and the Ticats have some younger options at centre. If another team is looking for depth or a veteran to help on a short-term basis, Filer would be a great addition.

6) Brad Erdos, Calgary Stampeders

The Simon Fraser product suffered a torn patella tendon in training camp with the Stamps, missing the entire 2019 season due to injury.

He’s a proven starter at guard, but having not played since 2018 will be a red flag for some teams. His age — almost 31 — will also potentially be a factor.

7) Brett Golding, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Wilfrid Laurier product has spent the past three years in a developmental role with the Ticats, dressing for just eleven games.

The 26-year-old has been buried on Hamilton’s depth chart but could be ready for a larger role with another team looking for help at guard or centre.

8) David Brown, Free Agent

The 26-year-old was a fourth-round pick out of Western in 2018. He would have gone higher, but Brown was coming off a torn ACL.

He spent the 2019 season on Calgary’s practice roster and was recently released by the team. The London, Ont. native should have value for a team looking to improve their depth at guard.

Click the link below for our previous positional installment and come back tomorrow for our receiver rankings.

2021 CFL free agent rankings: quarterbacks
2021 CFL free agent rankings: running backs & fullbacks
2021 CFL free agent rankings: receivers

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