If you’ve been a fan of the Montreal Alouettes over the last few years, it may be increasingly difficult to not root for the Toronto Argonauts in 2017.
After all, the Argos now have Marc Trestman and Jim Popp as their head coach and general manager, and they signed players like Brandon Whitaker, Winston Venable, Jeff Finley and Alan-Michael Cash in free agency. But the biggest name may have gone from Montreal to Toronto yesterday afternoon, as slotback S.J. Green was shipped to the Double Blue for draft picks.
Green has been the face of the franchise for years. The way he became a superstar made it impossible for fans not to gravitate towards him.
Green has been with the Alouettes for over a decade. He’s won Grey Cups and made plenty of amazing catches along the way. Before all that success, he was just a practice roster player on a team stacked with talent at the receiver position.
While waiting for his turn, Green was approached by the Argos, who were willing to bring him onto their active roster right away. He decided it was in his best interest to put regular playing time and extra money on hold.
So, how did Green and the Alouettes get to this point?
Well, the answer is pretty straight forward. You know how everyone always says that football is a business? It’s true, and that’s exactly what happened in this situation.
The 31-year-old suffered a major knee injury (he tore his ACL, MCL and PCL) against the Redblacks early into the 2016 season. Given his age, injury and salary (some have reported it’s in the $250,000 range), Green became a candidate for a pay cut, a trade or a release.
Instead of rolling the dice on Green regaining his old form, Als GM Kavis Reed decided that he’d rather take a chance on free agent receiver Ernest Jackson instead.
Jackson reportedly signed for somewhere between $160,000 and $220,000. Add the expensive acquisition of Darian Durant, and it became pretty clear that the Als couldn’t afford to keep all these high-priced players around.
From an Argos perspective, this move makes a lot of sense. Maybe they work out a new deal with Green, maybe they don’t. But both Trestman and Popp are familiar with Green, and they know what he’s capable of doing on the field.
Keep in mind that the Argonauts released Vidal Hazelton, Kevin Elliott, Torey Gurley and Phil Bates late last season. They also lost Kenny Shaw and Deonte Spencer to the Redblacks in free agency.
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