CFL free agency opens in 24 hours. Here's one observer's view of what each CFL teams' shopping list should look like.
MONTREAL - The Alouettes biggest need is in their secondary. We aren't sure why the Lions are leaving Ryan Phillips unsigned but he is a versatile veteran who could bolster the Als especially if Marc Estelle isn't re-signed. With Anwar Stewart released and the potential departure of Jermaine McElveen, Eskimos DE Greg Peach could be on Jim Popp's shopping list. Popp might also be tempted to take a run at the CFL's best punter Calgary free agent Burke Dales or return man Tristan Jackson.
TORONTO - The Argos have multiple needs but GM Jim Barker's emphasis should be on enhancing the receiving corps for Ricky Ray. Andy Fantuz would be tops on that wish list but the CFL's most coveted free agent will come at a high price. If not Fantuz, Bomber free agent WR Greg Carr is a must. Of note, the Argos have signed veteran offensive lineman Marc Parenteau but incumbent hoggies Rob Murphy, Taylor Robertson and Dominic Picard are headed to free agency.
HAMILTON - The Tiger Cats could also be in the Fantuz sweepstakes which would give Henry Burris one of the elite receiving corps in the CFL. But with the departure of DE Justin Hickman, Greg Peach might be less money better spent. Although I'd be tempted to add veteran Montreal castoff Anwar Stewart, to show the younger Tabbies the route to the Grey Cup.
WINNIPEG - After signing all 3 QBs Pierce, Brink and Elliott, the Blue Bombers most pressing need may not be exposed until all star Guard Brendon Labatte signs elsewhere. If that happens GM Joe Mack's first order of business is likely to add a Canadian offensive lineman which could pave the way for the return of Dominic Picard. Otherwise, Eskimos free agent Rod Davis might be a target to strengthen the linebackers or the return of Arjei Franklin or Matt Carter to deepen the Bomb squad's Canadian receiving corps. First priority for Mack is to re-sign the free agents who helped the Bombers reach last year's Grey Cup game.
SASKATCHEWAN - A lengthy shopping list and a salary cap to stay under. Aside from re-signing Fantuz, the Riders biggest catch would be to land Weyburn native Labatte from the rival Bombers. Jermaine McElveen or Peach would be a badly needed addition to the defensive line and Rod Davis would be a solid replacement for NFL bound star Jerrell Freeman. I'd also be tempted to add Jarious Jackson as a backup for Darian Durant. Jackson is a classy veteran who would provide leadership, support for Durant and a suitable insurance policy at the most important position.
CALGARY - The Stampeders biggest need is on defence and Lions free agent defensive tackle Aaron Hunt fits the bill with the retirement of Devon Claybrooks. Grabbing Rod Davis from their northern rivals wouldn't hurt either. Chris Baumann has already been added to the Stamps offence.
EDMONTON - GM Eric Tillman made a preemptive strike by acquiring offensive lineman Simeon Rottier from Hamilton to play right tackle. With the departure of Jerome Messam to the NFL's Miami Dolphins, a spot at Running Back is open. Avon Cobourne is an ideal fit here. Cobourne will be motivated after the abrupt change of direction in Hamilton, he's a leader, good blocker and his presence would take some pressure off QB Steven Jyles who will have plenty of it replacing Ricky Ray. Tillman cleared cap space in the off season with the trading of Ray and release of Patrick Kabongo. Andy Fantuz would also help take plenty of heat off Jyles but Tillman has been poker-faced on the subject of signing Fantuz.
B.C. - The defending champions look like they want to retool their defence to suit new coordinator Rich Stubler. Stubler has plenty of familiar faces in free agency to choose from. Wide side Corner Byron Parker, a Stubler protege, has already been lobbying for a job on Twitter and if he could fit under the cap Willie Pile would end the Leos concern at Safety. Not sure how many Boatmen can move west but the Lions have also expressed interest in DB Lin J Shell.