5 Free Agents Suited for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

J.R Tavai
OTTAWA, ON - JULY 13: J.R. Tavai (44 -- DL) of the Ottawa Redblacks in a Canadian Football League (CFL) regular season game between the Ottawa Redblacks and the Montreal Alouettes played at TD Place at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Sean Burges/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Eight Winnipeg Blue Bombers are set to test the market as free agents tomorrow. Winnipeg has the fewest pending free agents, but have already lost and could lose more key players.

Willie Jefferson is the biggest in-house name on Winnipeg’s to-do list, and arguably the biggest name on the entire league’s radar.

Even if Jefferson leaves, re-signing a veteran like Craig Roh would keep the Bombers’ defensive line intact. Winnipeg has Jackson Jeffcoat, Thiadric Hasen, and Alex McCalister all under contract for 2020.

The Blue Bombers’ obvious need is on the boundary side of the secondary, which signing free agents could fix. And if Jefferson leaves, you can add defensive end to that list. I mean, there almost needs to be Jefferson stays–Jefferson leaves sections in this piece.

Regardless, you know I don’t shy away from predictions. When writing this last year I nailed Winston Rose, and I’m looking to repeat that magic below.

Josh Johnson

If not for Shaq Evans abusing him in the final two games of the 2019 season, Johnson should’ve undoubtedly been a CFL All-Star. He’s got excellent man coverage skills, giving him the ability to lock star receivers down. He also snagged five interceptions last year.

If Brock Sunderland and the Edmonton Eskimos let Johnson hit the open market, he’d be a slam-dunk addition at the boundary corner spot in Winnipeg, replacing Winston Rose.

Richard Leonard

Leonard plays a similar game to the departed Marcus Sayles. Both have smaller, athletic frames and create turnovers with their high football IQs. Leonard got CFL All-Star honours in 2019 after making 55 tackles and adding four interceptions and two forced fumbles.

There are few sound halfbacks available in free agency, meaning Leonard would be a fantastic replacement for Sayles at the Bombers’ boundary halfback spot.

J.R. Tavai

Tavai quietly recorded 49 tackles, seven sacks, and three forced fumbles with Ottawa last season. At 26, Tavai has a lot of football ahead of him and can immediately become a full-time starter on Winnipeg’s defensive line given Willie Jefferson signs elsewhere.

If the Bombers want to pursue a taller defensive end, Calgary’s Chris Casher could be another underrated add. Casher equaled Tavai’s sack total in 2019 and made 34 tackles.

Logan Kilgore

While Winnipeg is unlikely to add a veteran quarterback to their roster, Kilgore would be a solid backup to Zach Collaros. Kilgore started five games with Edmonton in 2019, but on the contrary he can be turnover prone, throwing eight career touchdowns and 19 picks.

If Winnipeg were to sign Kilgore, he would bring four years of CFL experience and give soon to be 24-year-old Sean McGuire another year to fine-tune his game in Winnipeg.

Tobi Antigha

Winnipeg doesn’t shy away from dropping defensive ends into zone coverage or scheming players into totally different positions (i.e. Adam Bighill), and Antigha fits that bill. In his two seasons in Saskatchewan, Antigha thrived in a pass rusher/free safety/rover role.

The undersized defensive end has 71 tackles, seven sacks, and five interceptions in 46 CFL games, making him a sneaky add to an already versatile defensive unit in Winnipeg.

Bonus: Willie Jefferson

Do I really need to explain this one? Pay Willie Jefferson.

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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