The Toronto Argonauts have re-signed starting quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, but more should be expected from the CFL East All-Star in 2022.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson will never be mistaken for Doug Flutie, Ricky Ray or Damon Allen. However, similarly to those three former legendary Toronto Argonauts quarterbacks, he started to develop the winning habit last season.
As a result, the Argonauts decided to re-sign Bethel Thomson to remain as their starting QB in 2022. The news was officially confirmed by the club on Monday, just over a week before CFL free agency is due to begin.
The 33-year-old has played for Toronto since 2017, when he was an understudy to Ray. He gained invaluable insight into what it took to lead a team that year, as the Double Blue won the 105th Grey Cup.
Bethel-Thompson started to play more regularly in the following two seasons, as he started 21 times under centre. This included 13 games in 2019, when he set career-highs essentially across the board, including 4,024 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes.
The main issue was this did not translate to the win column, as the Argonauts went just 4-14 in 2019. However, following the cancellation of the 2020 season, things started to finally come together last year.
Initially there was a quarterback battle between Bethel-Thompson and Nick Arbuckle, which only ended when the latter was traded to Edmonton. As much as the move was questioned by many at the time, it proved to be the right decision.
Bethel-Thompson finished the 2021 campaign with a 7-2 record in nine starts, while also appearing in five other games. He helped the Argonauts win their first East Division title since 2017, earned his inaugural CFL East All-Star selection and was the club’s nominee for Most Outstanding Player.
The San Francisco, California native wasn’t able to do quite enough in the Eastern Final against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, despite having homefield advantage. As such he still has plenty to prove in terms of being able to raise his game in high-pressure situations, while also maintaining his composure.
In respect of composure, Bethel-Thompson’s time in Southern Ontario hasn’t been without controversy, specifically following the Eastern Final loss to the Tiger-Cats. He had a heated clash with a TSN cameraman as he walked off the field, although he did later apologise for the run-in.
At the same time, the Double Blue clearly have faith in the former UCLA Bruin, expecting him to be even more productive and consistent this coming season. He is already the seventh-leading passer in club history and has more to offer.
Bethel-Thompson has a very impressive CFL career completion percentage of essentially 67 percent, although questions remain about his ability on deep throws despite having excellent arm strength. He is an inspirational leader for the club, but even this can be proved by better production on the field.
Bethel-Thompson released a statement explaining why he decided to re-sign with Toronto, which ultimately came down to one person. As per Argonauts.ca, the statement read:
"“There are hundreds of reasons to sign back…unfinished business, a commitment to excellence from the organisation, an opportunity to deepen the bonds of brotherhood. At the end of the day it comes down to one: (Argos GM) Michael “Pinball” Clemons. He epitomizes championship DNA. Last year we established a standard of winning and this year is about raising it to the “Pinball” level.”"
Bethel-Thompson’s professional career has included numerous stops with NFL, Arena Football and United Football League teams. His time with the Argonauts has provided him stability for the first time and he will now want to repay this by leading them to the Grey Cup in 2022.
The re-signing of Bethel-Thompson represents the 10th by the Double Blue since last season concluded. They have also brought in some important additions such as new defensive coordinator Corey Mace, who is tasked with improving a poor unit.
Are you sold on Bethel-Thompson as the Toronto Argonauts’ starting quarterback in 2022, or do you still need to see more from him? Let us know in the comments section below.