It has been an off-season of highs and lows for the BC Lions. Promising young quarterback Nathan Rourke took his talents to the NFL. All-Star safety Luchioz Purifoy was released in what was ultimately a salary cap saving move. Fan favourite receiver Bryan Burnham announced his retirement. There have been positives, re-signing key Canadians and extending their veterans in the secondary, TJ Lee and Garry Peters. Owner Amar Doman revealed big plans for the home opener.
Defensive Assistant Tanya Henderson’s trajectory keeps moving in the right direction. She was chosen as the Lions representative to coach at the National Combine.
The Leos did sign four players to their roster following a free agent camp in Las Vegas. No disrespect to the four newcomers, but this announcement wasn’t the news fans were anticipating. This week pending free agents are allowed to negotiate with all other CFL clubs. There is a nervousness amongst Lions fans about the status of their offensive line and running back James Butler remains very real.
There were reports around the league that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats met with Butler’s camp. Losing the running back will no doubt shake the confidence of the fan base on the west coast. Free agents Walter Fletcher and AJ Ouellette may be the only two suitable replacements, should Butler sign elsewhere.
After a couple of nightmare seasons, the offensive line stepped up last season. With Joel Figueroa, Sukh Chungh and Peter Godber still unsigned, fans have reason to be concerned. On the other side of the ball, defensive lineman Obum Gwachum is set to become a free agent. After a solid season in 2022, he could price himself out of BC. With Steven Richardson coming back after being injured last season the concerns on the defensive line are nowhere near what they are on the offensive one.
It is easy to get caught up in the hype this time of year. Players are going to be testing the market to get a sense of their value. It is easy to feel left out when you see big names signing all over the league. Assistant GM Neil McEvoy told J.J. Adams of The Province that Lions fans should temper their expectations during this free agency period. There seems to be a belief in the Lions camp that their squad is deep enough to compete already.
In terms of what is going to be the most scrutinized position in BC, it appears that the Lions are more than content with Vernon Adams Jr. As first reported by TSN’s Farhan Lalji the quarterback has signed an extension that will keep him in BC through 2024. Also interesting to note is that veteran back-up and former teammate of Adams Jr, Dominique Davis moved to BC this off-season. Davis is a short yardage specialist with experience as a starter. The Lions have announced that they have come to an agreement with the veteran. With Michael O’Connor and Antonio Pipkin set to hit free agency, signing Davis is a solid move by the Leos.
Here is the list of the remaining free agents for the Lions……..
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