Life isn’t always fair and sadly enough neither is professional sports. Ricky Foley got a lesson in that today. One that he has seen happen many times to others and perhaps privately knew would happen to him some day. That day was yesterday as the Courtice ON native was let go with 2 more years remaining on a contract extension he negotiated before the beginning of last season.
The bottom line is that football is a business. Contracts aren’t guaranteed and what happened today to Rickey Foley occurs all the time and will continue to do so. Frankly I’m not sure why agents agree to roster bonuses so late in the offseason which make it only that much more difficult for their clients to find work on another team.
Ricky Foley was as close to being a face of the franchise as the Toronto Argonauts had going into the 2017 season. He’s a personable passionate guy who trumpeted the horns of the CFL in southern Ontario and specifically Toronto as much as any player in recent history.
Unfortunately in a salary cap world Foley with 2 years at $150,000 per left on his deal, got expensive and going into his age 35 season General Manager Jim Popp decided it was time to cut the cord on the Canadian defensive end.
Last year was a tough season for the Argonauts. The move to BMO Field didn’t generate as much excitement and tickets sales as the organization had hoped. So the only thing Toronto can do to gain a footprint in the sporting landscape of this city is win a lot of football games. Enter Jim Popp and Marc Trestman and sadly exit Ricky Foley.
Foley like much of his 2016 teammates had a difficult season. Rich Stubler’s defensive scheme never really took and Foley accumulated a very quiet 24 tackles and 4 sacks on the season. That type of output doesn’t usually garner a roster bonus payout from a new regime.
Credit Popp for this move given that among the fan base it’s not a very popular one. But again, winning is the only priority here. And history shows that Popp has favoured going with 4 and 5 Canadians on the offensive line, something Toronto may look to do this season.
The Argos should also be credited for being able to make a move like this due to the Canadian depth it has been able to assemble. Toronto will have no problem putting 7 capable starters on the field.
With names like Tyler Holmes, Sean McEwen, Chris Van Zeyl, Corey Watman and recently signed J’Michael Deane Toronto may just start an all-Canadian O-line. If not other Canadian starters at other positions like SB Brian Jones and S Jermaine Gabriel are all quality players.
In the CFL Quarterbacks and Canadians get paid. Unfortunately if in the eyes of management that Canadian talent is viewed as being overpaid than you also get cut.
Of course the money saved from Ricky Foley’s deal may also be used to bring in someone else. The team recently re-signed Brandon Whitaker. Did that move force Toronto to free up some cap space? Not sure.
Is there another impact signing on the way? Again, not sure. I’ve wanted all season for Toronto to bring back National DT Cleyon Laing, currently exploring an NFL career. With Daryl Waud serving as a back up Toronto would have tremendous flexibility in terms of how it can set up its Canadian depth.
As we often ask if there really is an off-season anymore the roster carousel in the CFL just doesn’t seem to end. For Argonaut fans it’s in Popp and Trestman we trust.
For Ricky Foley’s sake here’s hoping his roster carousel hasn’t come to an end and that he’s able to latch on to another team.
Follow Anthony @AnthonyCiar