Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Juiciest potential free agents are for fantasy teams only

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ANTHONY CALVILLO is a potential free agent. So too is 2012 outstanding defensive player J.C. Sherritt and 2012 outstanding lineman Jovan Olafioye.

But don't get excited, Blue Bombers fans -- none of those guys will be signing in Winnipeg this winter, anymore than a potential blue-chip Bombers free agent such as Jonathan Hefney will be signing in Edmonton.

The most appealing parts of the list of potential free agents the CFL put out Wednesday afternoon were all fantasy and very little reality.

Calvillo is either going to re-sign in Montreal as expected or retire. After getting rid of Ricky Ray last winter, the Edmonton Eskimos might as well fold their franchise if they let Sherritt go this off-season. And B.C. GM Wally Buono has already reportedly told Olafioye he will make him one of the best-paid offensive linemen in the CFL next season if Olafioye can't find an NFL job.

The free-agent names on Wednesday's list that the Bombers front office will be more interested in reading are the same ones you've already read about -- backup quarterbacks Quinton Porter in Hamilton, Adrian McPherson in Montreal and Mike Reilly in B.C. all become potential free agents Feb. 15.

Then there were the non-import defensive linemen on Wednesday's list, including Toronto's Ricky Foley and Hamilton's Eddie Steele, a Winnipeg native, who would both fit a need the Bombers have identified ever since Doug Brown retired after the 2011 season.

Foley would seem to be a long shot -- he's from Toronto and was a big part of the Argos' Grey Cup win -- but Steele might be a fit if he's good to go. The University of Manitoba product had knee surgery in October.

The caveat to all this is that Bombers GM Joe Mack has been loath the past three years to go free-agent shopping, and all his comments Wednesday were about signing the free agents he has, not pursuing new ones.

"We've had extensive discussions with all of our free agents already," Mack said. "We'd pretty much like to have just about everybody back if we can arrange that... We'll circle back to their agents again, probably in the next seven to 10 days, to see where they are."

The Bombers have 12 potential free agents this winter, including six starters on defence.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 6, 2012 D3

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