Toronto Argonauts: Do latest signings provide hope for 2021 CFL season?

Llevi Noel #84 of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images)
Llevi Noel #84 of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images) /

CFL teams getting contracts for players and front office staff done including the Toronto Argonauts, but does that mean there will be a season?

It has been a relatively quiet few months for the CFL since they announced the cancellation of the 2020 season. Back in October, teams like the Toronto Argonauts held virtual events during a virtual Grey Cup week but there hasn’t been a lot of news coming out the past few days.

Teams have been getting players and front office staff signed to deals in anticipation of a season in 2021. The Argos had their front office pretty much locked up when they made the move to Michael “Pinball Clemons and new head coach Ryan Dinwiddie but there are some players who need new deals.

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The first group of players to new contracts were Llevi Noel, Karlos Williams, Isiah Cage, AJ Oullette, and Matthew Boateng but there are some notable names that will need to be taken care of. You can see the full list here but here is a breakdown of players who will look to return or get their chance to play with the Double Blue.

On offence, the Argos will need to work out new deals for quarterbacks McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Michael O’Connor, receivers Natey Adjei, Juwan Brescasin and offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek. It would be hard to not see those players returning for this upcoming season.

Then on defence, the team has a lot of work to do there as Chris Ackie, Alden Darby, Craig Roh, Drake Nevis, and Robert Woodson are among the top pending free agents. They also added Eli Harold who was a third-pick in the NFL back in 2015 and a competent pass rusher.

Seeing all these moves, it appears to be business as usual for the CFL but many will likely take the “see it before I believe it” route before they get their hopes up. Having a schedule certainly helps and the vaccine news has been promising but the one hurdle that still remains is getting the government to allow fans in the stands.

The regular season doesn’t start until June 10 so there is still time for the league to work out health and safety measures that will satisfy public health requirements. They will also need to figure out how to regain the momentum it lost from 2020 so that they don’t themselves into more financial problems this season.

TSN’s Dave Naylor and Farhan Lalji discussed how teams could be looking to reduce expenditures including player salaries. Will this open up another tough negotiation between the players and owners? Both sides have been able to find a way to compromise and given the players’ desire to get back on the field and the pressure on the league to also return, it should be an easier negotiation.

Next. Key dates from the 2021 schedule. dark

What are your thoughts on the upcoming CFL season? Do you expect them to play or do you think there will still be issues that will present tough hurdles? Let us know in the comments below.