Ranking the 10 possible CFL destinations for pending free agent Bo Levi Mitchell

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Future Canadian Football Hall of Fame quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell has said he intends to explore the free-agent market despite recently having his rights traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Ticats are courting the veteran passer and appear to be the front-runners to land his services but, for the moment, Mitchell is still a pending free agent. As such, let’s rank all the possible destinations of where he could end up this off-season.

1) Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Ticats obviously have the inside track here and may even lock up Mitchell prior to the free agency deadline. They recently brought Mitchell and his wife, Madison, out to Hamilton for the wine-and-dine treatment and the team has lots to offer.

The tandem of journeyman Matthew Shiltz and an oft-injured and sometimes ineffective Dane Evans didn’t pay dividends this past season and Mitchell could help the team end its league-worst Grey Cup drought. Let’s not forget that next year’s big game is slated to be played in the heart of Steeltown at Tim Hortons Field.

Mitchell wants to play somewhere that football matters and Hamilton certainly fits that bill.

2) Toronto Argos

Mitchell has familiarity with Toronto’s coaching staff and there are a bevy of former teammates on the roster. Mitchell could even slide right into the starting role created by the rumoured pending retirement of McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Mitchell would be entering a ball control offence, but one with some dynamic playmakers downfield should he decide to fire it in their direction. With former Calgary receivers DaVaris Daniels, Juwan Brescacin, and Eric Rogers already on the roster, Mitchell might be able to recapture some of the magic of years past.

His recent comments about wanting to play in a place that cares about football and the presence of Grey Cup hero Chad Kelly may cause some friction, but Toronto appears to remain a reasonable possibility for Mitchell.

3) Saskatchewan Roughriders

With a Dickenson as coach and a new offensive coordinator now hired, the appeal of moving to a hated rival might intrigue the man who has never shied away from saying how much he enjoys the atmosphere in Regina.

They need to upgrade an offensive line that allowed 77 sacks this past season before Bo signs on the dotted line, but given that the quarterback plays with a massive chip on his shoulder, the revenge tour might just draw him in.

Saskatchewan also has the benefit of being the league’s most rabid fanbase, something that Mitchell craves.

4) B.C. Lions

This placement only applies if Nathan Rourke goes to the NFL. If that’s the case, the Lions may look at Mitchell with the hopes of pairing him with the league’s best receiving corps.

Mitchell obviously doesn’t have the elusiveness that either Rourke or Vernon Adams Jr. possess, but that doesn’t mean B.C.’s offensive scheme wouldn’t fit him. Even with the retirement of Bryan Burnham, the Lions receiving corps is stacked.

Head coach and co-general manager Rick Campbell also worked in Calgary early during Mitchell’s career, so there should be a level of familiarity between the two.

5) Ottawa Redblacks

It seems unlikely that Ottawa will pull the trigger and sign Mitchell to beaucoup bucks, but it’s not impossible. If the Redblacks feel that Jeremiah Masoli isn’t recovering from his season-ending injury as well as they had hoped, they could opt to make a quarterback change.

Masoli played just four games this past season before being injured and has not played an 18-game season since 2018 due to various injuries.

Mitchell has also faced the injury bug the last few years, but given their respective track records, an oft-injured Mitchell has a better resume than the oft-injured Masoli.

6) Montreal Alouettes

Trevor Harris is the quarterback in Montreal, though he remains a pending free agent. There are also questions as to whether or not Harris is the type of guy you want to rest your franchise on. He’s effective outside the red zone but he’s never been as good as Mitchell.

While no longer the day-to-day guy in Montreal, vocal minority owner Gary Stern could look to make a splash with an addition like Mitchell. Virtually all of the team’s head coaching candidates are internal, so there won’t be any familiarity there for Mitchell to hang his hat on.

7) TSN panel

Mitchell has made it clear that he wants to keep playing for another three to four years at least but it’s hard to ignore how well he has done on television in spot duty with TSN.

Mitchell has worked for the network during the last three Grey Cup games and has looked good and comfortable while doing so. There’s still plenty of money in TV along with greater longevity and significantly fewer hits.

8) Edmonton Elks

It’s impossible to imagine a world in which Bo Levi Mitchell plays for Chris Jones. Calgary is one of the most stable organizations in sports, so moving to a franchise that has been a dumpster fire for a few years now seems extremely unlikely.

The appeal of winning the Labour Day Classic in green and gold won’t outweigh beating Calgary in green and white, so this doesn’t even seem like the best option from a revenge standpoint.

9) Calgary Stampeders

Never say never, right? Mitchell has discussed potentially returning one day as a coach and who knows what can happen in the off-season.

Maybe something happens that takes Jake Maier out of the running to be a starter in Calgary next season, like a Powerball lottery win or a windfall retirement-sized inheritance. Mitchell could have a tearful airport reunion with fans and coaches alike.

10) Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Zach Collaros is a two-time reigning M.O.P. has the most secure job in the league. Like the Stampeders, something drastic would have to happen for Collaros to not be starting next season and Mitchell instead.

Collaros recently signed a three-year contract extension with Winnipeg and has guaranteed money in the final year of his deal in 2025. Barring a miracle, Mitchell won’t sign in Bomberland.

Ryan Ballantine is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.