‘A RESPECT FACTOR’: SirVincent Rogers takes dim view of exclusion from CFL’s top 30 list of free agents

Before he signed a rich free agent deal with Edmonton in 2019, left tackle SirVincent Rogers was No. 23 on the Canadian Football League’s in-house list of the top 30 available players.

True to form, Rogers and 12 other members of that elite group changed teams on Feb. 12, the opening day of free agency, while three more, including Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell, re-signed with their own squads. The following day, another six were off the board. Seven players from the top 30 had already been extended by their teams prior to Feb. 12, and when former Edmonton wide receiver Derel Walker signed with Toronto on Feb. 14, the entire list was off the market.

So it was apparently a pretty accurate reading of the landscape. Rogers isn’t so sure the 2021 list is as good, because he’s not on it.

“I think my resume, what I’ve been able to do in the CFL alongside my teammates, I think that speaks for itself,” the 34-year-old said Thursday from Houston. “It caught me by surprise in the sense that list was coming from the league. It was on the CFL official website.

“Edmonton invested in me in 2019,” said Rogers. “I understand the responsibility and I want to make good on the investment. I was unable to do that in 2019 because of an untimely injury.”

He suffered a torn left tricep in training camp and missed the entire season. In six previous years, he averaged 14 games played.

“In 2020, I would have been perfectly healthy entering camp and ready to go out and prove why Edmonton signed me to the contract they signed me to,” said Rogers.

“I understand Derek Dennis is a great player also and has done a lot in this league as well. It’s really good to have a lot of good players accumulated. It boosts your opportunity to get to that goal we all have at the beginning of every season.”

This has been a unique, uncomfortable off-season. Because the league did not operate in 2020, teams lost millions of dollars in revenue and most players weren’t paid any portion of their contracts. The trickle-down effect is being felt on the bottom line now, as pay cuts are common and signing bonuses are not.

Rogers said he understands that he and most other players will have to take cuts, whether they stay put or shop themselves to new teams. He just hopes negotiations will be reasonable.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of these narratives about players who are willing to stay with their respective teams for what I would deem unreasonable pay cuts. I won’t say anyone’s name in particular, but I believe if you’re a top guy in our league, you definitely have to try to negotiate what’s reasonable for both sides.”

Here’s the Canadian Football League’s list of the top 30 pending free agents, as published Thursday on

  1. QB Jeremiah Masoli, Hamilton
  2. WR Bryan Burnham, B.C.
  3. LB Cameron Judge, Sask.
  4. LB Henoc Muamba, Montreal
  5. WR Greg Ellingson, Edmonton
  6. DL Charleston Hughes, Sask.
  7. DL Micah Johnson, B.C.
  8. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Toronto
  9. DL Cordarro Law, Calgary
  10. DB Ed Gainey, Sask.
  11. K Justin Medlock, Winnipeg
  12. DL Almondo Sewell, Edmonton
  13. OL Shane Bergman, Calgary
  14. DL Drake Nevis, Winnipeg
  15. WR Eric Rogers, Calgary
  16. OL Matt O’Donnell, Edmonton
  17. WR DeVier Posey, Hamilton
  18. LB Don Unamba, Ottawa
  19. OL Jason Lauzon-Séguin, Ottawa
  20. LB Patrick Levels, Hamilton
  21. LB Larry Dean, Hamilton
  22. DB Ciante Evans, Montreal
  23. RB John White, B.C.
  24. DB Frankie Williams, Hamilton
  25. LB Chris Ackie, Toronto
  26. WR B.J. Cunningham, Montreal
  27. LB Solomon Elimimian, Sask.
  28. LB Justin Tuggle, Edmonton
  29. DB Cariel Brooks, Hamilton
  30. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal

“Me being a proven player in our league, and someone who has overcome a few injuries now and been able to bounce back from those injuries and be division all-star, league all-star, all that I’ve been able to accomplish alongside my teammates, it just seemed from my perspective that it was a bit inaccurate in that sense. Not to take away from anybody on the list. I know those 30 guys on the list are pending free agents and hopefully those guys sign back where they desire or where they can get the best compensation for their work.”

The list is topped by Hamilton QB Jeremiah Masoli and features eight linebackers, including Cameron Judge at No. 3 and Henoc Muamba at No. 4. Bryan Burnham is No. 2 and Greg Ellingson No. 5, leading a pack of five receivers. There are also three offensive linemen on the list: Shane Bergman at 13, Matt O’Donnell at 16 and Jason Lauzon-Seguin at 19.

Again, Rogers said he has no quarrel with anyone on the list, including his fellow linemen. His beef is with the league.

“That was the thing. It was just a respect factor from our league. So I’m not trying to be a whiny baby or pout about not making the list. Essentially, I’ll do what I’ve done in my resume and the things that motivate me will continue to motivate me.

“But digging deeper into it from a respect level, that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Honestly, that’s really all it was.”

As much as the omission crawled under his skin, he is more focused on securing a new contract. He has chosen to represent himself and is parsing contracts listed on the CFL Players Association website, trying to find the most accurate comparables among re-signed linemen. The hope is to stay with Edmonton, but he knows he needs to be ready to make his case on the open market if there is no deal to be done with GM Brock Sunderland. Edmonton recently signed free agent left tackle Derek Dennis, who didn’t have a CFL deal in 2020.

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