The Toronto Argonauts get their man, after agreeing terms with one of the CFL’s top free agents and most explosive playmakers.
On Thursday, Tip of the Tower colleague David Morassutti explained why the Toronto Argonauts needed to make signing Derel Walker a top priority. This priority has now been realised.
As reported by the Canadian Press via the Toronto Star, the Argonauts have signed Walker for $275,000. This deal makes him the CFL’s highest-paid non-quarterback.
There was some shock surrounding the signing, as the overriding sentiment was that the 27-year-old would remain in Edmonton. However, money talks, as Eskimos general manager Brock Sunderland explained to the Edmonton Journal‘s Terry Jones:
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Walker was one of the CFL’s top free agents and there is no denying this is an excellent coup by the Double Blue. The question is, will they be getting the fully healthy version of Walker?
The wide receiver was having an excellent campaign last year, with 51 receptions, 875 yards and eight touchdowns through 11 games. However, he then sustained a season-ending knee injury.
Sunderland confirmed Walker did not need to undergo knee surgery. Further, you would assume the Argos wouldn’t have signed him, if there was any concern about his fitness.
There is still some uncertainty over how stable the Argonauts’ quarterback position will be in 2019. Regardless, whoever lines up under centre will be reassured by having one of the CFL’s most explosive targets to aim for.
Walker burst onto the scene during his rookie year in 2015, as he registered 89 receptions, 1,110 yards and six touchdowns in just 12 games. He was named an All-Star and the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie, as he helped the Eskimos win the 103rd Grey Cup.
The following year, the Hillsboro, Texas native was even better. He was named an All-Star once more, as he recorded a sensational 109 catches, 1,589 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Argonauts were terrible on offence last year, ranking second-last in points. This was highlighted by averaging the CFL’s lowest yards per pass attempt.
This is where Walker comes in. If he performs anywhere close to what he is capable of, the Argos will benefit greatly as they attempt to return to the playoffs.
How do you see Walker boosting the Toronto Argonauts’ offence? More to the point, how much will he help with the development of James Franklin, as the number one quarterback in 2019? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.