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August 15, 2019

Negotiation List Revealed

Eastern Washington quarterback Eric Barriere (3) passes the ball against Weber State during the first half an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Ogden, Utah. (Matt Herp/Standard-Examiner via AP) ORG XMIT: UTOGD323

It is a pipeline which has delivered the likes of Chris Streveler, Marcus Sayles, Lucky Whitehead and Janarion Grant to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. And if a scouting department is doing its job effectively, it is a consistent talent lifeblood for any Canadian Football League team trying to unearth talent south of the border.

The league unveiled the first of its bi-annual negotiation list reveals for each club on Thursday, offering fans a sneak peek at some of the potential future prospects who could be soon doing their thing in the three-down game.

Just to recap, each team can have up to 45 players – primarily NCAA prospects or players on National Football League rosters – on their negotiation lists. For years, the lists were confidential, but in 2018 the league opted for more transparency in an effort to create discussion among its fan bases.

CFL teams use negotiation lists to stockpile the rights to American talent. Once a player – whether he is playing college football or has been through an NFL training camp – is put on a team’s neg list, they own his CFL rights as long as his name remains on the 45 among the list.

Teams do occasionally trade neg-list players, they can also be added or removed at any time and the lists are constantly evolving. Here’s a brief look at the latest 10 players whose names were made public by the Bombers (their choice):


Alex Barrett, San Diego State

Position: Defensive end
Height.: 6-2; Weight: 250
4-1-1: Was the first San Diego State defensive lineman to be named First-Team All-Mountain West honours in multiple years, accomplishing the feat in 2015 and 2016. First signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Lions in 2017, and then joined the San Diego Fleet of the ill-fated Alliance of American Football for 2019, registering two sacks before the league folded. Barrett was then signed by the Oakland Raiders in April and could see action in next week’s NFL preseason game at IG Field against the Green Bay Packers.

Eric Barriere, Eastern Washington

Position: Quarterback
Height.: 6-0; Weight: 195
4-1-1: Assumed the starting QB job last fall after an injury to starter Gage Gubrud and took the Eagles to the FCS Finals where they fell to North Dakota State. ‘Big-Play Barriere’ is a dual threat QB who accounted for 2,450 yards, 24 passing TDs, and an additional 607 yards and eight TDs rushing at EWU, the school that also produced Matt Nichols, Bo Levi Mitchell and Vernon Adams, Jr. He is also on the watchlist for the Walter Payton Award, awarded annually to the top player in FCS (formerly Division 1-AA).

Jake Bentley, South Carolina

Position: Quarterback
Height.: 6-3; Weight: 220
4-1-1: Has been the Gamecocks’ starting QB since his freshman year, when he went from a redshirt freshman to upsetting Tennessee. Has started 32 games for South Carolina, and last year threw for 3,171 yards with 27 TDs and 14 interceptions.

Fred Brown, Mississippi State

Position: Wide receiver
Height: 6-0; Weight: 175
4-1-1: Has bounced around the NFL since his college days with the Bulldogs with stints on practice rosters with the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Rams, but is now in a real fight in the camp of the Denver Broncos for the sixth receiver spot.

Kelly Bryant, Missouri

Position: Quarterback
Height: 6-3; Weight: 225
4-1-1: Now with the Tigers as a graduate transfer from Clemson, where he threw for 2,802 yards and rushed for 665 in 2017. He is another dual-threat QB who has drawn comparisons to another Mizzou star – current Toronto QB James Franklin.

David Kenney, Illinois State

Position: Defensive end/outside linebacker
Height: 6-2; Weight: 250
4-1-1: Currently in training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He earned a spot with the Bucs after a solid performance at the team’s mini-camp in May. He hasn’t played since 2015 after playing one year at Indiana, then transferring to Illinois State because of academic problems. Three CFL teams – Ottawa, Saskatchewan and Toronto – had worked him out before he popped off the page for the Buccaneers.

Mekale McKay, Cincinnati

Position: Wide receiver
Height: 6-4; Weight: 210
4-1-1: The Bombers acquired McKay’s neg list rights from Hamilton in 2017 in a trade that sent CB Johnny Adams to the Ticats. He had looks from the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans, then joined the San Antonio Commanders of the AAF. Did draw interest from Buffalo and Cleveland and attended Browns mini-camp this spring, but is currently a free agent.

Jayden Mickens, Washington

Position: Wide receiver
Height: 5-11; Weight: 170
4-1-1: Currently with the Carolina Panthers. Mickens spent time on Oakland’s practice squad in 2016-17 after signing there as an undrafted free agent following a solid career at Washington, where he led the team in catches and receiving yards in his junior and senior years. Joined the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017 and made his NFL debut that season, later twice earning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award. Suffered a broken ankle last October and was played on injured reserve before signing with the Panthers in July.

David Rivers, Youngstown State

Position: Cornerback
Height: 6-0; Weight: 185
4-1-1: Now with the Miami Dolphins after suiting up for three games for Tampa Bay over the 2017-18 seasons. Has also had NFL looks from Green Bay and New York Jets. Played in over 40 games over four years at Youngstown State.

Greg Ward, Houston

Position: Wide receiver
Height: 5-10; Weight: 190
4-1-1: Now in training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Bombers acquired the rights to Greg Ward in the trade that sent DE Patrick Choudja to Calgary on Canada Day. Ward was a dual-threat QB at Houston, where he threw for 8,704 yards and 52 touchdowns while rushing for 2,381 yards and 39 TDs. He then joined San Antonio of the AAF, where he had 22 catches for 214 yards in eight games.