On Sunday, the CFL’s negotiating window opened, allowing players with expiring contracts to speak with other teams ahead of the official opening of free agency on February 8.
With hundreds of players available, CFL free agency can make or break a franchise. To kick-off the action, 3DownNation unveiled our list of the top 30 pending free agents. Now we’ll be getting down to the nitty gritty, ranking the top available players at each position over the coming days.
Today we start with the game’s most important position — quarterbacks. Check back tomorrow for our running back rankings.
Editor’s Note: These rankings have been edited since publication to reflect which players remain uncommitted.
1) Trevor Harris, Free Agent
We all wish we could forget the last couple years, but perhaps no-one more so than Harris. Caught up in the Elks chaos and battling injury, the 35-year-old barely had a chance to correct an early season slump before he was shipped to Montreal as a rental.
While inconsistencies have been his downfall, Harris was no worse than most of the league’s quarterbacks coming off the cancelled season and has been a top tier starter since 2015. If a team isn’t ready to hand someone the keys to their franchise, Harris could provide the best 1A option in the league.
2) Chris Streveler, Free Agent
Streveler’s unhinged running style and hilarious Grey Cup celebration made him a CFL legend, but after two years in the NFL, is any team more comfortable with him as a passer than they were when he left?
If the South Dakota product comes back north, he’ll want starter money without ever having shown starting caliber accuracy. The question interested teams will need to ask is whether his transcendent athletic ability makes that worthwhile?
3) Michael O’Connor, Calgary Stampeders*
Shouldering the hopes of a nation desperate for a homegrown quarterback, O’Connor was supposed to take the next step as a backup in Calgary. Instead, rookie Jake Maier emerged and the Canadian was relegated to the bench.
Entering year three, O’Connor is reaching a crossroads in his development and needs more reps if his dreams of being a CFL starter are to ever materialize. The UBC product has all the tools, but he needs the right opportunity.
4) David Watford, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Three years into his CFL career, Watford has shown flashes of his intriguing athletic potential, but hasn’t emerged as a passer. The one-time NFL wide receiver made two emergency starts for the Ticats last year, winning both, but was only 40-of-57 for 342 yards and a touchdown all season, with another 96 yards on the ground.
Watford can be a great short yardage option, but is any team comfortable enough with his body of work to make him a full-time number two?
5) Isaac Harker, Saskatchewan Roughriders
Rider Nation fell in love with Harker in 2019 and lapped up his podcast with Cody Fajardo over the COVID break, but he fell out of favour with the club late in 2021.
After going 16-of-23 for 150 yards and two interceptions in a Week 16 start, Harker lost his backup job to Mason Fine for the playoffs. If he ever takes the next step, it will have to be in another city.
6) Sean McGuire, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
McGuire finally got a chance to throw in his second CFL season, starting Winnipeg’s Week 15 matchup with Montreal. The results weren’t promising, as he went 11-of-26 for 146 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions.
The Western Illinois alum’s short yardage prowess is unquestioned, but a team will have to look long and hard to find more to develop from the 25-year-old.
Note: While the CFL’s official tracker lists Ottawa quarterback Matt Nichols as a pending free agent, sources indicate he is under contract for 2022. He has been left off this list accordingly, though a looming offseason bonus leaves his future in question.