February 12, 2018 4:10 pm
Updated: February 12, 2018 4:13 pm

Edmonton Eskimos ready for CFL free agency

Edmonton Eskimos General Manager Brock Sunderland speaks about the year after being eliminated from the Western Finals by the Calgary Stampeders, in Edmonton, Alta., on Tuesday November 21, 2017.


It all begins at 10 a.m. MT on Tuesday morning.

Canadian Football League free agency will probably hit with several big-name players still not signed by their respective teams, meaning they will hit the open market and start to field calls from other CFL clubs.

Eskimos vice-president of football and general manager Brock Sunderland expects Day 1 of free agency to be filled with significant signings.

“I think on Tuesday you will see six to eight, maybe 10, big-name, big-money players sign deals,” he said.

Sunderland expects it will then get quiet for many players.

“In March, all of a sudden some players will be sitting around saying, ‘Geez, I thought I was going to get significant money.'”

LISTEN: Esks GM Sunderland on re-signing Sherritt and free agency

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It’s a gamble for some players to wait.

Teams only have so much money to spend and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Sunderland says players have to decide if a little bit of extra money is worth the hassle of moving and leaving a good a situation behind.

“The scheme fits, the coach fits, the environment fits, the locker room fits, can you get $10,000 more some where else? Yes. Truth is after taxes, is it worth changing everything.”

READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos bring back veteran linebacker J.C. Sherritt

This will be Sunderland’s first free agent season as a general manager and he says if it is the right situation, he will jump in on those big names on Day 1.

“We might hold some money back and see who gets to market.

“There might be some players that we like a lot from other organizations that haven’t signed yet and we may roll the dice and see if they hit the market.”

Then it’s a bidding war as teams try to sell players on their cities, facilities and teams.

Sunderland says when the time is right he may employ Mike Reilly or J.C. Sherritt to make phone calls to free agents to help sell them on a move to Edmonton.

READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos take 2 more players off their pending free-agent board

The Eskimos had more free agents than any other team this year.

The incredible amount of injuries they had in 2017 forced them to sign many players to one-year deals to get them through the season. Many of the 37 free agents will not even be offered contracts; 12 have been re-signed, two have left for the NFL, three have been released and one traded. Negotiations with others will go right up to the deadline, says Sunderland.

READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos release fan favourite Adarius Bowman; extend Vidal Hazelton 

“There are multiple players we have had discussions with and we feel we are good. Some have said, ‘We’ve agreed but want to sleep on it.'”

So it’s probably safe to expect some re-signings before the deadline on Tuesday.

Eskimos’ free agent re-signing:

David Beard OL

C.J. Gable RB

Vidal Hazelton R

Korey Jones LB

Colin Kelly OL

Neil King DB

Pascal Lochard RB

Hugh O’Neill K

J.C Sherritt LB

James Tuck FB

Derel Walker R

Sean Whyte K

Eskimos’ pending free agents:

Johnny Adams DB

Euclid Cummings DT

John Delahunt FB

Joel Figueroa OL

Aaron Grymes DB

Forrest Hightower DB

Alex Hoffman-Ellis LB

Adam Konar LB

Kendial Lawrence RB

Doug Parrish LB

Garry Peters DB

Simeon Rottier OL

Jamill Smith R

Levi Steinhauer LS

Travon Van RB

Swayze Waters K

Cory Watson R

John White RB


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