could be major players when free agency opens in less than an hour. The Ti-Cats got a jump by re-signing Brian Simmons and Bo Smith yesterday, but there are still a few players out there that might be of interest to the Tabbies.
Unlike in previous years, there isn't that one headlining player that will be available. Last year, Andy Fantuz was that guy. The year before, Avon Cobourne. (For the record, the Ti-Cats signed both.) The top guys this year are probably Ricky Foley and Odell Willis. Foley because he is a Canadian that plays a position, defensive end, traditionally manned by an American, and Willis because he is a premier pass rusher in a league that covets such players. That said, I hope the Ti-Cats don't pursue either. I think Foley isn't as good as people make him out to be; he's had one good season in his career and played alright in the Grey Cup, but since he signed with Toronto he has done mostly nothing. I'd be OK if Willis was brought in, but at the price he will likely command, I think the Ti-Cats could spend their money more wisely.
The two guys I think the Ti-Cats should aggressively go after are both on the defensive side of the ball: defensive back Evan McCollough and defensive lineman Brian Bulcke. The Cats were talking about remaking their secondary and adding McCollough would be a great way to do that. Plus, it hurts a division rival, which is always a good thing to do in free agency. Adding Bulcke would allow the Cats to play a non-import on the defensive line, which would help their ratio tremendously. He could fill the hole that has been on the team since Matt Kirk left a couple years ago.
There are other intriguing names out there, like Dwight Anderson, Deon Beasley and Adrian McPherson. Anderson or Beasley would fill a need in the secondary and might be targets should the team fail to land McCollough. McPherson wants to be a starter, but the only team looking for one (Winnipeg) has already dismissed the idea of bringing anyone in. The Ti-Cats are in the market for a veteran backup, so I am curious where McPherson lands and if he lands in Hamilton.
Some quality Canadians will also be available, like former No. 1 overall pick Shomari Williams and safety Cauchy Muamba. I have a feeling that Muamba will either return to BC or sign with Winnipeg to play with his brother, Henoc. Williams, who moved to linebacker last year, could be pursued by a number of teams and I wouldn't be surprised if the Toronto native is picked up by the Argos.