The Toronto Argonauts continued to win the off season, by signing 2019 CFL Most Outstanding Player and four-time All-Star Brandon Banks.
The Toronto Argonauts have been on a roll since CFL free agency started on Tuesday, headlined by signing star runner Andrew Harris and defensive line force of nature Ja’Gared Davis. They’ve even boosted their quarterback position, with the intriguing addition of Chad Kelly.
The Argonauts continued their efforts to strengthen the roster on Sunday, as they announced the signing of Brandon Banks. The speedy receiver and return specialist is coming off a down year, but will be focused on proving he can still perform at a level similar to when he was named CFL Most Outstanding Player in 2019.
Double Blue head coach Ryan Dinwiddie is understandably happy with the signing. As per the Argos’ media relations department, Dinwiddie said:
"“We want to welcome Brandon and his family to Toronto and couldn’t be more excited for him to join the organization. Brandon gives us a ball in hand receiver and a vertical threat to our passing game, while providing veteran leadership. What he’s done in this league is phenomenal and we are thrilled he’ll be in Double Blue.”"
Banks has enjoyed a successful professional football career, which dates back to 2010. Here are five things to know about the Argonauts’ latest addition:
1) Prior to the CFL, Banks started his professional career in the NFL with Washington, who signed him as an undrafted free agent. Between 2010-12, he totaled 2,856 kick return yards and a touchdown, 937 punt return yards and 11 receptions for 35 yards.
2) Banks was listed at just 149 pounds during the NFL combine and went on to become the lightest active player in the league. As of today, he is also the lightest active player in the CFL, at 150 pounds.
3) The 34-year-old was named a CFL All-Star for the first time in 2014, after a combined 1,968 yards during the regular season. He helped the Hamilton Tiger-Cats advance to the 102nd Grey Cup, and only an illegal block penalty stopped him from winning the game inside the final minute on a 90-yard punt return.
4) Banks had 782 kickoff return yards during the 2015 regular season, along with CFL career-highs of 930 punt return yards and four touchdowns. This led to being named the league’s Most Outstanding Special Team’s Player, while also earning his second All-Star award.
5) The Raleigh, North Carolina native’s best season came in 2019, as he set career-bests with 112 receptions, 1,550 receiving yards and 13 touchdown catches. This resulted in being named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player, along with his fourth All-Star selection and an appearance in the 107th Grey Cup.
Last year was a tough one for Banks, as injuries impacted his campaign and he failed to reach 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2016. He will obviously aim to bounce back this coming season and justify the Argonauts’ decision to sign him.
Are you excited by the addition of Banks to the Toronto Argonauts’ roster? Or are you concerned that injuries last season combined with age, may be setting the stage for a continued decline in production? Let us know in the comments section below.