CFL free agent frenzy came and went. There were rumors about every team in the league. Signings were close, or done but not confirmed. Fans were upset then happy all within a couple of hours. That’s what is weird about free agency. At the end of the day you don’t really know what you’re team is thinking or what they’re trying to do.
You can get ahead of the market and make a big splash followed by another big splash. If that’s the strategy you pursue you’ll make headlines and win over a fan base and make for an overall fun day. Unfortunately none of that guarantees wins, playoffs or a Grey Cup Championship.
You can also decide to sit on the sidelines, wait for other teams to spend their money and hope that when the smoke clears you can strike with not only a player you covet but at a price that allows you to make another move down the road. That route is probably a little more difficult to execute and doesn’t necessarily sell tickets and like the former approach unfortunately also doesn’t guarantee a Grey Cup Championship.
It’s now day 2 of free agency in the CFL so if you didn’t go with plan A you’re probably looking to implement plan B. Now is the time when the patient, methodical approach to player acquisitions takes over.
Some will look at what Toronto did or didn’t do yesterday and carry some frustration with them. Yes watching Kenny Shaw, Diontae Spencer and A.J. Jefferson bolt to Ottawa was tough to watch. All three players could have been significant contributors for the Double Blue in 2017 and on a personal note having written stories on all three of them they did nothing but represent the organization and Toronto in a very professional manner.
But what are most important from an Argonaut perspective are two factors. First, give the Double Blue front office credit for not panicking and dishing out a bad contract to recover what they may have lost. Secondly, IT’S ONLY DAY 2 OF FREE AGENCY! Fans need to understand that there is still a lot of talent out on the market.
Would Argo Nation not be ecstatic to hear today or tomorrow or even next week that the team has signed Ernest Jackson and Terrel Sinkfield? I know I would. What about bringing back a ratio breaking linebacker like Cory Greenwood? Throw in National defensive lineman Cleyon Laing and I’ll argue that Toronto won the free agent sweepstakes. Now all those signing may prove difficult but there is still time to make an impact.
In all sports teams are declared off season winners and losers. Usually the winners are the one who make the biggest signings. Losers are the ones who give out brutal contracts that if they don’t regret as soon as the ink is dry will do so at some point during the season.
In terms of what did happen yesterday I’ll reiterate that Toronto did just fine. Though still not yet confirmed by the Argos signing Winston Venable was a steal. The former Montreal Alouettes provides a hard hitting intimidating defender and is a leader both on and off the field.
Signing Jeff Matthews was another solid move. Matthews is well known by Tommy Condell and with the play of Drew Willy up in the air and the future of Ricky Ray an unknown adding a young quarterback to develop is key. You never have enough capable quarterbacks. While Matthews is still unproven, he is still someone who enters the mix. This can be one of those low key low risk signings that pays a huge dividend.
So yesterday the Argonauts decided not to go with plan A. Yes they targeted some key free agents who chose to play somewhere else. But Toronto deserves credit for establishing a value and not overpaying. Hopefully today or maybe tomorrow, their patience pays off.
follow Anthony on twitter @comicanthony