With free agency approaching, the Toronto Argonauts made sure to retain an important part of their defence signing Henoc Muamba to a contract extension.
Slowly but surely we have seen the Toronto Argonauts‘ off-season plan come together with CFL free agency set for Feb. 8.
Since the end of the season, Toronto has brought back 13 players from last year’s roster including kicker Boris Bede, receiver DaVaris Daniels, offensive linemen Dariusz Bladek, Shane Richards and defensive back Robertson Daniel. Then the team made an important announcement on Monday bringing back Henoc Muamba for a second season in the Double Blue.
In his first season with the Argos, Muamba made 49 tackles, and an interception through 10 games. His voice on and off the field was crucial to the success the team had and you could tell he enjoyed being back at home.
"“I couldn’t be happier to be home and continue playing in Toronto,” Muamba said in a press release. “We are ready to finish what we started last season and take that next step towards our ultimate goal. There is nowhere else I’d rather be, and June can’t come soon enough.”"
With Dexter McCoil Sr. deciding to retire and Chris Edwards suspended six games for his role in the post-game altercation with fans, it was crucial to find stability in the middle of the field. This is especially true with Corey Mace being brought in as the new defensive co-ordinator.
It can’t be stressed enough the challenges the Argos dealt with in 2021 with the team having to make a coaching change with defensive co-ordinator, Glen Young leaving for personal reasons. Rich Stubler stepped in to help the team until Chris Jones made his return to the CFL and took over for the remainder of the season.
Through all of that, veteran players like Muamba were called upon to help the team navigate the changes. Hopefully, by getting Mace on board now, provides him, head coach Ryan Dinwiddie and the rest of the staff time to assess the needs the team has to address in free agency.
Quarterback position remains the Argos biggest question mark once again
Don Landry of CFL.ca spoke with general manager Pinball Clemons about the team’s approach to free agency. He made it a point to say that the challenge for the Argos is trying to find a way to go from good to great
One way the team can avoid taking a step back is to make sure that they have the right quarterback. Clemons made it a point to say that he would like to bring back “our guys and expanded on his desire to see McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
"“We’re trying to work through that now,” said Clemons about Bethel-Thompson’s situation. “He is the intended starting quarterback and he is a tremendous leader on our team.“In today’s terms, he’s an influencer,” Clemons continued. “And so he influences a lot of good, a lot of the right things on our football team. And he’s continuing to grow in who he is as a Canadian Football League quarterback.”"
Would it make sense to bring back Bethel-Thompson? Having continuity at the position is important but at the same time, management wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t explore all the options in case Bethel-Thompson finds a better deal elsewhere.
Obviously, Trevor Harris and Jeremiah Masoli are going to receive interest in free agency as the other quarterbacks with starting experience.
On Jan. 30, the CFL’s negotiation window opens providing teams with the chance to talk to pending free agents up until Feb. 6. Here is an explanation of the process by Chris O’Leary of CFL.ca:
"“At the end of that 48-hour period, the player will have from 10 a.m. to noon ET on Feb. 8 to select any offer made to him from any club. If he chooses one of these offers, the chosen team has to notify the CFL, who will then notify the other eight teams in the league. Conversely, if the player doesn’t accept any of these offers, he’ll enter free agency with any prior offers made from any team withdrawn and no longer available for acceptance.”"
Basically, this process allows teams to see if any of their pending free agents are getting offers and whether they would like to match it, sort of like restricted free agency in a way.
It will be interesting to see how the Argos approach the next few weeks because it will define their expectations for the 2022 season.