Roughriders Sankey, Lanier will be listening to other CFL free-agent offers
Lanier, 29, has spent the last two seasons with Saskatchewan. He appeared in 11 regular-season games in 2022 and recorded 19 tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles.
The 6-foot-1, 285-pound Lanier has played 21 CFL regular-season games of his career, recording 32 tackles, nine sacks and two forced fumbles.
Two other big names set to hit the window are veteran quarterback Trevor Harris and receiver Eugene Lewis, both from the Montreal Alouettes.
Harris, 36, completed 71.6 percent of his passes for 4,157 yards (third-most in the CFL) with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season. Lewis was a popular target with 91 catches for 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns en route to becoming the East Division standout.
Earlier this week, Lewis, 29, tweeted, “See you all in free agency!”
Harris and Lewis helped Montreal (9-9) finish second in the East Division last year. The Alouettes defeated Hamilton 28-17 in the conference semifinals before losing to eventual Gray Cup champions Toronto Argonauts 34-27 the following week.
Uncertainty reigns supreme in Montreal, however, as former president Mario Cecchini’s three-year deal with the club will not be renewed. The Alouettes are owned by Toronto businessman Gary Stern (25 percent) and the estate of the late Sid Spiegel, Stern’s business partner and father-in-law (75 percent), and there is speculation that the estate is interested in selling the club.
Cecchini’s successor was not known as of Thursday. Harris and Lewis have spoken to GM Danny Maciocia this offseason, according to a CFL source, but both remain unsigned.
There are reports that the BC Lions are interested in Lewis after veteran Bryan Burnham retired this offseason. while Harris was mentioned as being a good match for Saskatchewan.
One Alouettes player who won’t test the free hand is American defender Raheem Wilson, who signed a one-year contract extension with Montreal on Thursday.
CFL teams will be able to speak to pending free agents beginning Sunday noon ET. These players have until noon ET on February 12 to receive offers from other clubs.
These proposals—including base salary and incentives—must be registered with the league and the CFL Players’ Association. All submitted entries are considered binding.
When the window closes, teams will have 48 hours to negotiate solely with their own potential free agents. The CFL provides clubs with registered offers made to these players.
Teams then have until February 14 at 10:00 am ET to submit an offer to their own players, a copy of which must be given to both the league and the CFLPA.
After the 48 hours have elapsed, the player will have two hours (10:00-12:00 ET) on February 14th to select an offer made to them. If he accepts one, the selected team must inform the CFL.
Should the player decline all offers, they will enter the free hand on February 14th at 12:01pm ET. All previous offers are no longer available.
The free agency window was introduced in 2020 to curb manipulation and also allow upcoming free agents to explore all of their options and gauge their worth before the free agent period begins.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on February 2, 2023.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press