Free agent frenzy kicks off for the BC Lions in the CFL

Lions retain top end talent, make one acquisition

Like a bouncer at an exclusive nightclub, GM Wally Buono essentially limited his moves to one in and one out.

This doesn’t mean he wasn’t busy though.   The BC Lions head of personnel re-inked some major players that currently wore Lions Orange.

Buono started the day by announcing new deals to veteran leaders WR Paris Jackson and DB Korey Banks.

While the pair weren’t free-agents, the signings set the tone that Wally was perfectly happy in retaining his known assets.

Now on to the Lions Free Agents

Later in the day the Lions made two major announcements by re-signing CFL All-Stars and major trophy winners OT Jovan Olafioye and LB Solomon Elimimian.

Olafioye is the current CFL Outstanding Lineman while Elimimian was the 2010 recipient of the CFL Outstanding Rookie award.

Both of these top talents had sourced out opportunities in the NFL but have both opted to remain focal points of the CFL going forward.

And the newly signed DE Julius Williams

Julius Williams BC Lions

Newly signed Lions DE Julius Williams (Photo: Vancouver Sun)

The only new acquisition to the Lions roster came in the form of Defensive End Julius Williams.

Williams’ fate may have been sealed when his former team, the Edmonton Eskimos, announced the signing of premier pass rusher Odell Willis four minutes into the free agency signing period.

Williams will provide bench strength to a defensive line that was solid, although, limited in effectiveness when either Keron Williams or Khreem Smith was out.

So long James Yurichuk

And finally, the last roster change of the day had BC saying good-bye to Linebacker James Yurichuk.  Yuri signed with the Toronto Argonauts after turning down a serious offer from the Lions.

With the signing of Elimimian, and already relegated to a back-up role, if Yurichuk was going to see any significant playing time it was with another organization.

It just so happens now that he gets to play professional football just minutes from where he grew up.

Who’s next Wally?

But what about that Linebacking spot.  Early in the off-season Buono re-upped Adam Bighill’s contract as he proved to be a dominant force in the league.

So when Elimimian returned to BC late last season, Bighill remained the starter.

With Anton McKenzie and Anthony Reddick still available, is someone going to be asked to switch positions or is there is a trade on the horizon?

While it wasn’t a banner day of roster changes, as most of the big names stayed with their current clubs, it was a good start of the Free Agent market with over 20 CFL transactions.

The Lions will still look to acquire some O-Line depth, especially at the Guard position now that big Jovan is locked up. 

If Wally has proven one thing in free agency, it’s continuing to protect his assets including top QB Travis Lulay.

Cheers, The Bartender


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About Phil Slater

"The Bartender" - Raised on Vancouver Island where Phil played Football and Rugby in High School. Played O-Line for Bishop's University. A loyal member of the BC Lions nation since age 9. BC bred but travelled sea to sea in Canada trying to get a pulse on fan nation above the 49th. Unofficial voice of bartenders everywhere. Connect with Phil today!
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