A number of players returned from the NFL late last season and made an immediate impact with their new teams, including recipients Duke Williams (Saskatchewan), Reggie Bigleton (Calgary), linebackers Winston Rose (Winnipeg) and Trey Roberson (Calgary).
It’s rare to see players return to the North of the NFL before Labor Day but there are a number of talented players already in the free agent market. Will we see any of them score in the CFL anytime soon? It’s not clear then – but make sure the teams north of the border keep a close eye on them.
Players are listed alphabetically by last name. Please note that the letter “A” stands for US players while the letter “N” stands for National (ie Canadian) players.
K/P Lirim Hajrullahu (N)
The 32-year-old dressed for the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers during the 2021 NFL season, connecting to four of five field goal attempts and all of his eight extra points. He was also briefly on the training list with Washington leaders in December.
The Western product is currently a free agent after being waived by Panthers earlier this month. He’s proven capable of all three kicking assignments at the CFL level with a career field goal ratio of 83.3 and an average of 44.1 yards. For CFL teams that need help kicking, Hajrullahu should be at the top of their wish list.
OL Brett Jones (N)
Born in Webern, Sussex. He has been in the NFL since 2015 as a member of the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, and Denver Broncos. He played 61 NFL games with 19 games but didn’t wear a game in 2021 as he was put into injured reserve before the start of the regular season.
Jones was an excellent center-back over two years with the Calgary Stampeders, being named CFL Rookie of the Year in 2013 and Outstanding Lineman in 2014. He has earned over $6.5 million playing in the NFL but is still only 30 years old. Is there a desire to return to the CFL?
K Ty Long (A)
The 29-year-old has spent the past three seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers, averaging 46.5 yards per kick and 63.8 yards per kickoff. He also scored seven of his nine on-field goals in 2019 and made all nine additional attempts in his first year with the team in 2019.
Long spent two seasons with the BC Lions (2017-18) and was named a West Division all-star both years, making 88.2 percent of his field goals averaging 48.3 yards per kick. At the age of 29, the CFL can be a solid option for a long time if another NFL opportunity doesn’t materialize.
K. Brett Maher (A)
The Nebraska producer has spent the past four years in the NFL as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Washington Commanders, Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints, achieving 77.4 percent of his field goals, and 96.3 percent of his goals. Extra points, averaging 62.3 yards at kickoff.
Maher played four seasons in the CFL before heading south, racking up 78.1 percent of his field goals and averaging 45.8 yards on kicks as a member of the Ottawa Redblacks and Hamilton Tiger Cats. He made $1.5 million in the NFL but kickers who can do all three could still make good money in the CFL (relatively speaking).
Rick Deontay Spencer (A)
The fast five-foot-eight, 170-pound driver has spent the past three seasons with the Denver Broncos, returning 68 balls for 667 yards and one touchdown and 47 kickoffs for 1,008 yards. He is currently a free agent after the Broncos chose not to return him as a restricted free agent.
Spencer earned the CFL all-star title in 2018 as a member of the Ottawa Redblacks, recording 81 catches for 1,007 yards and seven touchdowns, 82 kickbacks for 849 yards and one touchdown, and 38 kickoffs for 815 yards. He turned 30 in March, but one would have to think that Spencer still had some gas left in the tank.
QB Chris Streveler (A)
The double-threat passer saw action in seven games over two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2020-21), completing 68 percent of his passes for 141 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He finished last year on the training roster with the Baltimore Ravens before spending his off-season with the Miami Dolphins but is currently a free agent.
The 27-year-old has proven he can be one of the CFL’s most dangerous weapons, even when used in a rotation role. He didn’t start with Winnipeg during the Gray Cup in 2019, but he still completed three passes for 39 yards and one touchdown and rushed 26 times for 122 yards and one touchdown.
DL James Fogers (A)
The six-foot, 255-pound contestant has spent the past three seasons in the NFL as a member of the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons, scoring 33 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, two tackles for a loss and one mandatory trip. He is currently a free agent after being released at the beginning of May.
The 28-year-old made 58 total tackles and 11 sacks over two seasons with the Calgary Stampeders (2017-18) and would be a default item and the CFL’s passing dash if he chooses to return to the North.
Editor’s Note: Defensive end free agent Jonathan Woodard is not on this list because his exclusive rights to the CFL belong to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.