EDMONTON, AB – Who will be the newest members of the Edmonton Elks?
CFL Free Agency is quickly approaching, with the frenzy set to begin at 10:00 a.m. MT on Feb. 13. The Green and Gold find themselves in a solid position entering the silly season, with the fewest remaining free agents in the Canadian Football League.
To prime EE fans for the week to come, GoElks.com has compiled a list of all the players currently under contract with the club, those whose contracts will expire on Feb. 13, and a list of the top CFL free agents at each position.
For the fourth instalment in the series, we’ll take a look at the Elks linebackers.
Currently under contract: Wesly Appolon, Woodly Appolon, Markail Benton, Michael Brodrique, Reynard Ellis, Tony Jones, Enock Makonzo, Nyles Morgan, Josiah Schakel, Jake Taylor, Chris Whittaker.
Pending free agents: Jordan Reaves
CFL top 30 free agents: Jameer Thurman (25) Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Ben Hladik (18) B.C. Lions, Wynton McManis (17), Toronto Argonauts, Tyrice Beverette (16) Montreal Alouettes, Micah Awe (9) Calgary Stampeders, Darnell Sankey (5) Montreal Alouettes
WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT & WHO’S AVAILABLE?
The heart of the Elks defence is one of familiarity and change prior to CFL Free Agency.
Leading the way will be standout middle linebacker Nyles Morgan who will be entering his fourth season with the club. The Notre Dame product was a tackling machine in 2023, registering the fourth most takedowns in the league with 107 in only 15 games. Morgan also added another four sacks as an impact maker on the defence. He will be joined by the returning Tony Jones, who acquitted himself nicely over the last two season in Green and Gold, registering 41 defensive tackles, 11 special teams tackles and a sack in a rotational role in 2023.
Canadian talent will be in abundance with 2023 second-overall pick Michael Brodrique, 2022 fourth-overall pick Enock Makonzo, University of Golden Bears alumni Josiah Schakel and Jake Taylor, and twins Wesly and Woodly Appolon making up the ranks.
Although listed as a defensive back, Lucheiz Purifoy will be returning to the Elks and is a very likely candidate to fill in their strong side linebacker spot (SLB) for the upcoming season, having suited up for eight games in the role in 2023. Starting weak side linebacker (WLB) Adam Konar, who started all 18 games for the Elks in 2023, was released back in January opening up his spot for training camp competition.
When it comes to a big free agent splash, CFL top 30 free agent Jameer Thurman (25) doesn’t really fit the bill for General Manager and Head Coach Chris Jones’s defence, fulfilling the same role as current MLB Nyles Morgan. Canadian standout Ben Hladik from the B.C. Lions could have been an intriguing option for a team looking to make splash — having registered 100 tackles, five sacks, and an interception in 2023 — but was extended by the Lions prior to Feb. 13. All other top 30 options will not hit the market have been locked up by their respective clubs, so depth additions will be the most likely targets for the Elks and other CFL clubs.