The Roughriders have their work cut out for them this offseason with 22 players who have the potential to walk away from the team.
The CFL released the official free agent list Thursday morning and it includes many of the green and white’s biggest starters including Willie Jefferson, Duron Carter, Jovon Johnson and Brandon Bridge.
Jefferson was a standout on the Roughriders defence leading the league in quarterback pressures.
In fact, nearly all of the Roughriders’ defensive line have contracts that expire on Feb. 13. Along with Jefferson, defensive end A.C. Leonard and defensive tackles Zach Minter, Ese Mrabure and Eddie Steele could all hit the free agent market.
3DownNation has reported that Jefferson has signed an extension with the club, but the news has yet to be confirmed by the Riders themselves.
In the backfield two of the Riders’ most productive defensive backs are staring at free agency including fan favourite Jovon Johnson. The 34-year-old joined the club after being released by Montreal after training camp this year and provided veteran leadership on defence throughout the year.
Kacy Rodgers is also at the end of his deal with the green and white and may look south for an NFL opportunity before committing to the CFL.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Riders’ most outstanding player Duron Carter may also take a shot at playing football down south. Carter demanded significant interest from an NFL scout at the eastern semi-final against Ottawa. The 26-year-old was the Riders top receiver this season.
Key parts of the Riders’ offensive line are also without a contract come February including Bruce Campbell and Thaddeus Coleman. Regina native Dan Clark is also slated to be a free agent, but at the end of the season media availability, Chris Jones stated that negotiations with the offensive linemen have already begun.
To that end, quarterback Brandon Bridge confirmed after the eastern final that his agent and the Riders have been in contact about a new contract that would keep him in the green and white.
Linebackers Jeff Knox Jr., Cameron Ontko and Otha Foster, wide receivers Devon Bailey, Chris Getlzaf and Nic Demski along with running back Greg Morris and kicker Quinn van Gylswyk round out the list.