Boatmen cut bait after giving Bourke a boatload in free agency

The Toronto Argonauts have released Canadian offensive lineman Josh Bourke.

The Argos inked Bourke a two-year deal worth over $200,000 per season – including a $75,000 signing bonus – on the opening day of free agency last February.

But Bourke, a two-time all-star and CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2011, playing in just 10 games last season before being added to the six-game injured list with an undisclosed injury (a move that many saw as a cap saving measure.) Consensus around the league was that Bourke’s play had declined considerably.

Bourke – a noted Hamilton enthusiast – was just one of several free agent signings that went awry for general manager Jim Barker. Canadian defensive tackle Brian Bulcke retired after playing in just one game while linebacker Keon Raymond was released in August, one game before the remainder of his contract would have become guaranteed for the remainder of 2016.

Bourke’s best years came as an Alouette, where he played nine seasons and was widely considered one of the best Canadian offensive lineman in the game. But it remains to be seen whether another team will take a chance on a 34-year-old coming off the worst year of his professional career.


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