After reflecting on restructured contract discussions with the Redblacks, Nick Arbuckle clearly sees how it all played out.
Arbuckle was due a roster bonus of $150,000 on Monday, February 1 and Ottawa released him prior to paying the money.
“We were having some contract restructuring talks in December, just before the holidays. And Marcel [Desjardins], the GM for Ottawa, he wanted to postpone it until after the holidays,” Arbuckle told Marshall Ferguson of TSN 1150 radio.
“We picked it up in the first week of January, after a couple of back and forths, Marcel wanted to stop again and postpone it until later on in January. We couldn’t come to terms on something that would work out for both sides.”
Arbuckle signed a two-year contract with Ottawa in January 2020 following a trade from the Calgary Stampeders. He was set to earn $430,000 in “hard money” in 2021 with incentives potentially taking the deal as high as $495,000.
“Early January when we halted negotiations for weeks, Cody Fajardo had agreed to numbers, Vernon [Adams Jr.] had restructured, Trevor [Harris] restructured,” Arbuckle said.
“The restructuring that I had offered to take at that point was more than twice as much as those three guys had taken. They had taken nine to ten percent reductions and I had proposed to take a 21 percent reduction on my contract, even that was turned down.”
Arbuckle waited to hear from Desjardins in January, but it wasn’t until Friday, January 29 when he reinitiated contact. That left little time for the sides to potentially agree to terms on a new contract, and ultimately the Redblacks chose to sign Matt Nichols instead.
“I started to feel like I wasn’t in the plans anymore. Maybe the situation with Nichols had changed,” Arbuckle said.
“I don’t know if they were trying to wait to try to see how the Nichols situation unfolded, it sucks to even think about that.”
Arbuckle signed a one-year contract for the 2021 season with the Argos, which included a $150,000 signing bonus. He has a $109,000 base salary, plus $12,000 in available housing payments and $3,000 per game in playtime incentives. The 27-year-old could make $325,000 if the CFL plays football.
“I was willing to take the biggest percentage contract reduction of any quarterback in the league had taken so far, even that wasn’t enough for the two sides to come together,” Arbuckle said regarding his Redblacks talks.
“I don’t know if there was a number that I could’ve even signed for early in January that would have been acceptable. Coach [Paul] LaPolice and Marcel — they knew how committed I was to the city of Ottawa.”