Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Canadian Football League offseason has been more eventful than normal due to the Ottawa Redblacks expansion draft and now teams are off to lock up their free agents before the February 15 opening of free agency.
The Montreal Alouettes have locked up three of their big names Troy Smith, Luc Brodeur-Jourdain and Billy Parker. They also picked up a former player in Dave Stala. They also signed Jonathan Beaulieu-Richard, Chris Dobko, Alan Michael Cash and Tanner Marsh among others.
Smith and Marsh were extended, which probably includes a raise. The Alouettes still have a bunch of big names as free agents, namely Shea Emry, Kyries Hebert, Marc-Olivier Brouillette and Josh Bourke.
The main problem for the Alouettes is that they obviously have the salary cap to deal with. One thing that will help this situation is Anthony Calvillo. The team and league may not want to see the future Hall of Famer retire, but it’s no coincidence that the Alouettes are as well placed as they have ever been to replace him.
Calvillo retiring would also take his salary off of the books for the team. The extensions to Marsh and Smith most likely take a significant portion of that but there still should be enough room to hand out some raises to the rest of the free agents and also improve some of the other aspects of the team. The unfortunate retirement of Andrew Woodruff due to injury also will allow for some additional flexibility.
There is still quite some time left for the Alouettes to lock up their key guys or to find other replacements. After the expansion draft and holiday period, Jim Popp will be busy the next month and a half and got 2014 off to a quick start with Parker’s signing along with the other names. Either way, the search for a new Offensive Coordinator continues as well. Of course, Popp hasn’t officially announced he will be back as head coach, leading to tweets from players like these from S.J. Green.
Well, this is right around the time that Marc Trestman was hired by the Chicago Bears, so the Alouettes aren’t quite in the same position they were a year ago, but it’s getting pretty close. Time is running out.