The James Wilder saga is over, with a happy ending for Argos fans.
But the Victor Bulter situation remains up in the air.
Wilder, the reigning CFL rookie of the year, came to an agreement on a deal that will see the bruising running back remain in Toronto for two more seasons and take another run at a second Grey Cup in Argos’ blue this season.
It was just more than two months ago that Wilder publicly stated he would not return to the Argos and fulfill the second year of his standard two-year entry level deal because the $45,000 US he was making was not enough to warrant the risks of a long-term injury.
The Argos in return issued a statement reminding one and all that Wilder was under contract, could not be contacted by teams in either the NFL or CFL and they hoped he would re-consider this course of action.
In the end, the Argos blinked, reaching out to Wilder with a two-year extension (terms undisclosed).
GM Jim Popp said the team basically went about its business re-signing its own free agents or deciding to cut them loose and at the conclusion of all of that, they looked at their bottom line and decided to make an attempt to extend their star running back.
Popp said the Argos were surprised by the stance Wilder took, but said it was nothing more than an attempt to get out of his contract and take another run at the NFL.
Wilder, though, had no real leverage. His only play was to threaten to sit out the entire season which is essentially what he was going to do.
“We didn’t have to do what we did,” Popp said, adding that at no point throughout this ordeal, did he have any animosity towards Wilder or vice-versa.
“It was never contentious,” Popp said. “He just wanted out of his deal.”
Popp, for his part, continues to lobby for the league to return to the days when U.S. players could sign in the CFL and have an opt out after the first season to return to the NFL if there were an interest from that league.
The league had a vote in January to do just that, a vote that was defeated 6-3 with Popp and the Argos one of the three teams in favour of reinstating it.
Popp believes that for every player who arrives in the CFL and then returns to the NFL the following season there would be 10 others that get up here, fall in love with the league and never leave.
With Wilder back in the fold and seemingly happy, the focus for many Argos fans shifts to defensive end Victor Butler. Popp doesn’t know which way that one ends.
There have been no talks of an extension and, as far as Popp is concerned, they will find out whether Butler will play out the final year of his contract in two months when the team begins its mini-camps.
“I don’t know what will happen,” Popp said. “We’ll see if he shows up.”
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies