Argos GM Popp turned attention to Wilder Jr. after free agency

Argos general manager Jim Popp prioritized the free agent period before turning his attention to James Wilder Jr.

Toronto inked the 2017 CFL Most Outstanding Rookie to a two-year deal on Saturday.

“We had free-agent deals to work on and once we got those taken care of we had something there that we could give go,” Argos general manager Jim Popp said. “It worked out for everybody.

“James as another dimension to our team, he’s a bruising player. He was playing hard on special teams and once he got in there we were both learning from each other. I think he’s still learning the game . . . we might not have seen his best yet.

“I think James has a great opportunity to grow in the community that will be very rewarding for him moving forward.

Wilder’s extension comes after the rookie running back had expressed frustration that Toronto wouldn’t allow him to opt out of the final year of his CFL contract to pursue NFL opportunities. Linebacker Victor Butler, who had a team-high 10 sacks for the Grey Cup champions, later lodged a similar complaint, writing the team was holding him hostage.

Popp said he hasn’t spoken with Butler since then.

“I’ve had no discussion with him,” Popp said. “The thing is I’ve had nothing but great conversations with him, the same with James.

“I was shocked when both of these things came up. The thing is he (Butler) has a contract and he’s welcome to return and play his contract.”

On Friday, 3DownNation insider Justin Dunk reported former Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo had joined Toronto head coach Marc Trestman’s coaching staff as a quarterbacks coach. Calvillo played for Trestman from 2008 to ’12 and they won two Grey Cups together before Trestman headed to the NFL.

Upon retirement, Calvillo served as a receivers and quarterbacks coach and offensive co-ordinator with Montreal (2015-17).

Popp said the Argos will unveil their coaching staff in the next few weeks.

-CP