Freeman headlines Roughriders free agent list
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have some big names going to free agency.
The team's nominee for Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year, Jerrell Freeman is heading to the open market in February. The league's Top Canadian in 2010, Andy Fantuz and the Top Canadian in the 2010 Grey Cup game, Keith Shologan have also played out the remaining year of their contract.
Freeman isn't sure what his future holds, "I don't even know. I haven't really been able to talk with my agent or the front office here. It's the first day of the offseason so it's a waiting game right now."
There is plenty of speculation Freeman's future will be in the National Football League. The league's leading tackler says he hasn't decided if that's the route he wants to take.
"It's one of those things of what opportunity I want. I'm torn. You come here and they give you an opportunity in Saskatchewan to come up here and play and make a living. You start something and you want to finish it. I know next year we're going to be a whole lot better. There are a lot of decisions and a lot of thinking I'm going to have to do."
"This is probably going to be the most difficult decision I'm going to have to make," Freeman adds.
For Keith Shologan, who also had another good year individually, he says there is no doubt where he wants to play football.
"Playing in front of the Saskatchewan fans is unbelievable. The best place to play football in the CFL. I'd love to be back here as long as they want me back. If I get a competitive offer than I'd love to come back."
After the team's final game, Shologan revealed he hasn't had any contact with the Roughriders about extending. On Sunday, he says that has changed.
"I just talked to Jeremy (O'Day) and he's says they've been in contact with my agent. They've had informal negotiations. No numbers have been talked about yet. I'm a little bit surprised. I thought I was going to get an offer before the season. I know with the old GM that was the plan but that's how it goes."
Running back Wes Cates is another Roughrider waiting to hear if the team has any interest in bringing him back.
"I'm just going to do what I can do. I'm going to work out hard this offseason and take care of the things I can control. Hopefully it's not (the end of my career) but I understand the business. But we'll just see. There are a lot of things they need to take care of within the organization before they worry about re-signing me. I guess patience is going to be my best virtue right now."
Cates climbed the Roughriders record books as the team's feature back over the last five years. He is now second in franchise history is both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, trailing only George Reed.
Head Coach Ken Miller says most of the players' agents have been contacted, including Andy Fantuz.
Fantuz contract negotiations have been on and off with numbers exchanged between the team and agent but nothing Fantuz or his agent have wanted to sign.
It'll be the second off-season in which Fantuz leaves the Roughriders wondering if they'll have their top receiver return. Fantuz tried out for the NFL's Chicago Bears and didn't return to Saskatchewan until Labour Day after his release from Chicago.
The other free agents
The Roughriders other free agents include quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie, running back Stu Foord, receiver Cary Koch and Jason Clermont, offensive lineman Marc Parenteau, defensive backs Tristan Jackson, Nick Graham and Leron Mitchell, and defensive end Brent Hawkins.