The wounds of release were still fresh in the mind of Charleston Hughes when he joined The Green Zone on CJME 980.
He didn’t hold back when asked how much he believes he’s worth as a player.
“My performance shows I should be the highest paid in the league,” Hughes said.
The 37-year-old led the CFL with 16 sacks during the 2019 season, adding 50 tackles, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one defensive touchdown in 17 games. Hughes was released earlier in the day when he could not reach an agreement with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on a new contract.
“It was about me making a decision about if I wanted to be in Saskatchewan,” Hughes explained. “I sent out my last and final offer which was a pay cut. It didn’t work out and it was time to part ways.”
Even after Hughes offered to cut his own salary, Riders’ GM Jeremy O’Day refused to raise his offer for the five-time CFL sack leader.
“I really don’t understand it because I’m not in O’Day’s position. It’s about putting your money in the right places I guess,” Hughes said.
“You got to do what’s best for you and I have to do what’s best for me. I have to come across a team that values me like others are valued.”
Hughes has already fielded interest from other teams and while nothing is certain, a decision on a new destination could be coming quicker than most expect.
“I’ve had a couple of teams call and express interest. I’ll know in the next day or two about interest,” Hughes predicted. “Maybe not even the next day. Maybe a couple of hours.”
Hughes wants to compete for a winner and opponents want him out of their division, but Hughes has one non-negotiable criteria for his new team.
“I want to go somewhere where I’m wanted. Within this negotiation process, I guess I’m not wanted.”