The signing of running back Andrew Harris highlighted a busy day for Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters. He also landed veteran kicker Justin Medlock, Canadian defensive lineman Keith Shologan, Montreal-born running back Pascal Lochard and receiver Ryan Smith in free agency.
The biggest free agent, literally and figuratively, will remain a Tiger-Cat as defensive tackle Ted Laurent, a Montreal native who was a CFL all-star the last two seasons, has re-signed with Hamilton for two years and a reported $500,000.
The six-foot-one, 305-pound defensive tackle from Montreal has been a league all-star the past two seasons in Steeltown.
Ticats' quarterback Zach Collaros was quick to react to news of Laurent's re-signing.
@tedlaurent TEDDDDDYYY! .. Bring some Haitian cookies when you get back for your press conference! 👍🏽🙌🏼🙌🏼— @ZCollaros7
Laurent tweeted back: "Bet."
Laurent's return is big for Hamilton, which lost kicker Justin Medlock and defensive backs Brandon Stewart and Mike Edem (both to B.C.) in free agency and still has over 20 players on the open market.
Tiger-Cats GM/head coach Kent Austin made a couple of other moves on Day 1 of free agency, re-signing veteran receiver Andy Fantuz to a one-year deal while signing free-agent linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis to a two-year deal Tuesday.
Fantuz, 32, of Chatham, Ont., returns for his fifth season with Hamilton. The six-foot-four, 221-pound receiver had 42 catches for 432 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Hoffman-Ellis, 26, spent his first two CFL two seasons with the B.C. Lions.
The six-foot, 230-pound Los Angeles native had 57 tackles and three interceptions in 17 games last season with B.C., playing 10 as a starter.
Riders address offensive, defensive lines
Elsewhere, Saskatchewan re-signed defensive lineman Dylan Ainsworth while adding receivers John Chiles and Jeremey Kelley and offensive lineman Andrew Jones after extending Canadian offensive lineman Chris Best.
The addition of Jones is interesting as it reunites him with new Riders head coach/GM Chris Jones. The two spent the last two years together in Edmonton, where Chris Jones was the head coach, and helped Toronto win the 2012 Grey Cup.
Redblacks reel in QB Harris
The Ottawa Redblacks signed quarterback Trevor Harris to a two-year deal. Harris, 29, spent four seasons with Toronto and started 16 games last season while veteran Ricky Ray recovered from off-season shoulder surgery.
Harris gives Ottawa a solid 1-2 punch under centre with veteran Henry Burris, the CFL's outstanding player award last year. But Burris turns 41 in June and is in the final year of his contract.
Harris becomes the second young quarterback to leave Toronto in free agency for a division rival. Zach Collaros departed after the 2013 season to sign with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Argonauts sign 4
Toronto re-signed linebacker Cory Greenwood while adding offensive linemen Josh Bourke and Corey Watman and kicker Lirim Hajrullahu in free agency. The towering six-foot-seven, 315-pound Bourke, 33, of Windsor, Ont., was a fixture at left tackle with the Montreal Alouettes while Watman, of Queensville, Ont., spent three seasons with Saskatchewan.
Hajrullahu made just 22 of 32 field goals (68.8 per cent) last year with Winnipeg. He replaces American Swayze Waters, the CFL's top special-teams player in 2014, who battled injuries last year with Toronto and is a free agent.
Stafford joins Alouettes
Receiver Kenny Stafford signed a one-year deal with Montreal. He had 20 catches for 230 yards and a TD with the Alouettes in 2014 before being traded to Edmonton for receiver Fred Stamps on Jan. 16, 2015.
Stafford had 47 catches for 732 yards with nine TDs in helping Edmonton win the Grey Cup.