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Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Odell Willis jokes around with his teammates during their practice in Vancouver, British Columbia, November 25, 2011.

Reuters

The Edmonton Eskimos have made the first splash in the Canadian Football League free-agent pool.

The Eskimos announced Friday they had signed import pass rusher Odell Willis to a free-agent contract.

Willis joins the Eskimos after spending last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders where he recorded 23 defensive tackles, six quarterback sacks, three pass knock downs, two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

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The University of West Georgia product amassed a remarkable 40 sacks in four CFL seasons and has a career total 101 defensive tackles and four fumble recoveries. In 2011, Willis was named an East Division and CFL all-star after racking up a career high 27 defensive tackles and 13 sacks.

The Montreal Alouettes signed import free-agent Geoff Tisdale to a two-year deal. The 26-year-old veteran cornerback has played five seasons in the CFL, including four with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Tisdale amassed 35 defensive tackles and two interceptions in 15 games with the Tiger-Cats last season, part of the 198 tackles and 17 picks over his CFL career, including two returned for touchdowns.

"We will be rebuilding our defense and Geoff will get to be a part of the process," said Alouettes general manager Jim Popp. "We look forward to Geoff bringing his veteran leadership into our locker room and are looking for a big year from one of the better bump and run corners in the CFL."

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Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More

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Based in Toronto, Rachel Brady writes on a number of sports for The Globe and Mail, including football, tennis and women's hockey. More

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