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November 30, 2017

The CFL has issued its list of pending free agents

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are in the middle of the CFL pack when it comes to free agents.

According to a list issued Thursday by the league, Saskatchewan has 22 players who can become free agents Feb. 13. The B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts also have 22 potential free agents.

The Edmonton Eskimos lead the way with 37 such players, followed by the Calgary Stampeders and Montreal Alouettes at 27 apiece, and the Ottawa Redblacks at 26 (before they announced they had re-signed slotback Brad Sinopoli on Thursday).

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were next at 19 (a number that fell by one Thursday when they announced they had re-signed kicker Justin Medlock), with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last at 17.

The Roughriders have some big names on their list — including receiver Duron Carter and defensive end Willie Jefferson — but that holds true around the CFL.

Among the league’s potential free agents are receivers Emmanuel Arceneaux, Weston Dressler and Brandon Zylstra, defensive backs Brandon Smith and Jamar Wall, and quarterbacks Trevor Harris, Jeremiah Masoli and Ricky Ray.

Here’s a quick look at the players on Saskatchewan’s list, including some details on their performances in 2017.

WR Devon Bailey: Product of Mississauga, Ont., is 26 years old … Signed Aug. 2 after being released by Montreal … Appeared in six regular-season games before being sidelined with a neck injury … Had five receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

RB Shakir Bell: A 25-year-old who hails from Indianapolis … Signed Nov. 1 and spent the rest of the season on the injured list … Was with Ottawa in training camp before being released … Played for Riders head coach-GM Chris Jones when both were in Edmonton in 2015.

QB Brandon Bridge: Hometown of the 25-year-old is Mississauga … Joined the Roughriders in August of 2016 after starting his career with Montreal in 2015 … Started one regular-season game in 2017 and appeared in 11 others … Set career highs in attempts (138), completions (92), passing yards (1,236), passing touchdowns (10), rushes (20) and rushing yards (127) in the regular season.

OL Bruce Campbell: A 29-year-old product of New Haven, Conn. … Was acquired from Toronto in February of 2016, but retired before training camp … Joined the Roughriders on June 26 of this season … Spent two weeks on the injured list and three weeks on the reserve list before starting 12 regular-season games and two playoff contests at left tackle.

WR Duron Carter: A 26-year-old who hails from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. … Signed with the Roughriders in January after spending three seasons with the Alouettes … Led Saskatchewan in receiving yards (1,043), tied for the team lead in TD catches (eight) and was third in receptions (73) through 18 regular-season games … Also played cornerback (nine tackles, one interception return for a touchdown) and returner (with a 113-yard missed convert return for two points).

OL Dan Clark: Product of Regina is 29 years old … Initially joined the Roughriders in 2009 while playing junior with the Regina Thunder … Started the first six games of the 2017 season before suffering an elbow injury … Returned to the lineup for Saskatchewan’s final three regular-season games and two playoff contests.

OL Thaddeus Coleman: A 32-year-old whose hometown is Waukegan, Ill. … Acquired from Edmonton in May of 2016 … Has started all 18 regular-season games in each of the past two campaigns … Spent time exclusively at right tackle in 2017 after seeing action at both right and left tackle in ’16 … Was named Saskatchewan’s most outstanding O-lineman in 2016.

WR Nic DemskiA 24-year-old product of Winnipeg … Selected by Saskatchewan in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2015 CFL draft … Had 19 catches for 222 yards and one TD and 23 punt returns for 227 yards in nine regular-season games in 2017 … Missed the second half of the season after suffering a foot injury in the Labour Day Classic.

LB Otha Foster III: Resident of Angie, La., is 29 years old … Signed with the Roughriders in February of 2016 and was named the team’s most outstanding defensive player after that season … Signed with NFL’s Baltimore Ravens in January, but returned to Saskatchewan on Sept. 12 … Had 11 tackles in three regular-season games before suffering a back injury that ended his season.

SB Chris Getzlaf: At 34, Regina product is the oldest player on the Roughriders’ list … Rejoined Saskatchewan on Oct. 16 after playing 26 games with Edmonton. Prior to that, spent eight seasons in Green and White … Dressed for the East Division semifinal against Ottawa but didn’t register any statistics.

DE Willie Jefferson: A 26-year-old product of Beaumont, Texas … Signed with Saskatchewan in September of 2016 after a tryout with the NFL’s Washington Redskins … Before that, played two seasons for Jones in Edmonton … Led the Roughriders in 2017 with eight sacks and led the CFL with 37 quarterback pressures over 18 regular-season games … Also had 45 tackles, six pass knockdowns and a blocked punt that he returned for a touchdown.

CB Jovon Johnson: Product of Erie, Pa., just turned 34 … Was signed June 19 after being released by Montreal … Began his CFL career with Saskatchewan in 2007 before making stops with Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal … Had 39 tackles, two interceptions and one touchdown over 18 games in the 2017 regular season while serving as the elder statesman in the secondary.

LB Jeff Knox Jr.: A 25-year-old who hails from Pittsburgh … Spent two seasons with Saskatchewan before trying out for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. Rejoined the Roughriders on Sept. 11 after being cut by the Bucs … Played eight regular-season games, recording 23 tackles, seven special-teams stops and one sack.

DE A.C. LeonardProduct of Palatka, Fla., is 25 … Played 33 games with the Roughriders over the past two regular seasons after starting his career with B.C. in 2015 … Had 33 tackles, five sacks and one forced fumble in 17 games during the 2017 regular season.

DT Zach Minter: A 27-year-old product of Glendale, Ariz. … Signed with Saskatchewan on Feb. 21 after previous CFL stops with B.C. and Calgary … Recorded seven tackles and one sack in the Roughriders’ first six regular-season games before suffering a calf injury that ended his season.

FB Spencer MooreHamilton product is 27 years old … Initially joined Saskatchewan in 2013 after being selected in the fifth round (44th overall) of the draft … Had seven receptions for a career-high 85 yards in 18 regular-season games in 2017 … Special-teams captain added 15 stops and two forced fumbles on cover teams in the regular season.

RB Greg Morris: A 25-year-old who hails from Toronto … Signed with Saskatchewan in September of 2016 after being released by Edmonton … Played for Jones with the Eskimos in 2015 … Rushed 14 times for 66 yards, caught one pass for 34 yards, returned 32 kickoffs for 732 yards and had eight special-teams tackles in 18 regular-season games in 2017.

DL Ese Mrabure: Product of Toronto turns 25 on Dec. 5 … Signed with the Roughriders in June of 2016 after a brief stint with B.C., which had selected him in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2015 draft … Had 17 tackles, 10 quarterback pressures and two sacks in 16 regular-season games in 2017.

LB Cameron OntkoResident of Cleveland is 25 … Special-teams stalwart signed June 27 after CFL stops in Calgary (2015) and B.C. (2016) … Recorded 10 special-teams stops in 10 regular-season games in 2017 … Didn’t play any games after Week 13 due to injury.

CB Kacy Rodgers II: A 25-year-old product of Southlake, Texas … Joined the Roughriders in August of 2016 after beginning his CFL career with the Jones-coached Eskimos in 2015 … Started 15 regular-season games in 2017, recording 42 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception that he returned for a touchdown.

DT Eddie Steele: Winnipegger is 29 … Signed with Saskatchewan on March 7 after spending the previous four seasons in Edmonton and the two before that in Hamilton … Played under Jones for two seasons with the Eskimos … Had 23 tackles and one sack over 18 games in the 2017 regular season.

K Quinn van GylswykA 26-year-old product of Victoria … Selected by the Roughriders in the third round (26th overall) of the 2016 draft … Has played in just two career regular-season games — one in each of 2016 and ’17. Has been on the injured list for the rest of his tenure … Was 1-for-1 on convert attempts during the 2017 regular season.