Monday Mailbag: Toronto’s cap, criticism of Ottawa & bare-knuckle boxing

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Last week we announced the 3DownNation Monday Mailbag, which is taking the place of our old comment section.

Readers can submit questions via email ([email protected]) or direct message on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. On email, please type “Monday Mailbag” into the subject line. On social media, please start your message with the words “Monday Mailbag.” This really helps us find and manage the messages we get.

Please note that by sending us a question you are giving us the right to publish it along with your name.

We received a lot of questions this week and we’ve answered a handful below. If your question didn’t get picked, don’t panic — we’ll save it to potentially answer here next week or on the 3DownNation Podcast.



Hi guys,

Love the site!

My question is in regard to the Redblacks. It sure seems like everyone is very critical to both the team and GM Desjardins.

Granted they had a poor 2019, but overall have done a great job. Not many splashy signings, but do have a lot of newcomers coming in to compete. Looks like they are respecting the cap floor request of owners.

They have assembled a top-notch coaching staff, and have a reliable QB in place. I believe they deserve a chance to compete. As a Redblack season ticket holder, I feel they will be competitive… your comments/assessments?

Thank you,

Bill deHoog

Hodge: Thanks for the question, Bill.

In my opinion, the Redblacks handled the departure of Nick Arbuckle in a very sloppy manner. Many of the personnel experts I’ve spoken to around the league feel as though the team wasn’t negotiating with Arbuckle and his camp in good faith, which is lousy considering how much work he did in the community over the past year.

I’ve read a lot of Ottawa fans crediting Desjardins for keeping the core of his roster together. Why? The team went 1-15 to end the 2019 season. Virtually every addition they’ve made since then — Matt Nichols, Cleyon Laing, Don Unamba, Stefan Charles — is old.

Paul LaPolice is a great asset and I think Mike Benevides will do good things with the defence. But from a personnel standpoint, I think Ottawa still has a lot of problems.


My question is how teams plan to sell tickets to a ‘limited’ number of fans for the 2021 season. Who gets priority on tickets? Random draws, or length of time as season ticket holders could be options.

Love that the weekly 3Down Podcast is back.


Matt in Calgary

Hodge: Thanks for reaching out, Matt.

This is a great question — we received many just like it — but I’m afraid there’s no answer at this point. All nine teams have the autonomy to sell tickets however they feel is best, provided they are abiding by provincial health mandates.

We’ll try to answer this question for you as the season draws nearer and teams develop their plans. The suggestions you made — random draws, season ticket seniority, etc. — are options I’m sure teams are exploring.


It strikes me as incredulous that anyone could believe that the Toronto Argonauts are under the 2021 salary cap imposed by the CFL.

It’s a pretty basic math exercise to conclude that Murphy and Clemons are kidding themselves, and not those of us who have been around this league for more than a few years as paying fans.

The best case scenario for the CFL, given the very clear lack of competence shown by the Government of Canada in acquiring and distributing enough vaccines for the minimum 30 million Canadians who will require them by this fall, is a league that starts in September with bums in seats. No bums in seats equals no games when it comes to the CFL.

Not sure how Toronto, or Saskatchewan for that matter, intend to pay their players and stay under the cap in that or any other scenario…

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…



Hodge: Thanks for the question, JC.

There are a lot of people asking how Toronto plans to get under the salary cap in 2021.

The CFL doesn’t officially report player salaries, which makes it impossible to get a precise reading of how close teams are to the cap. With that said, it’s important to remember the parameters of how player spending works.

All signing bonuses and off-season roster bonuses are paid out before the season starts and apply to the salary cap even if a player is released or retires. No other money — salaries, housing money, incentives, etc. — is paid until the regular season is underway.

There’s also the six-game injured list to take into account. If a player completes a stint on the six-game injured list, their salary for that period does not count against the cap. This can result in big savings for teams who lose well-paid players to a major injuries.

The Argos currently have well over 90 players on their roster. By the start of the regular season — when players actually start getting paid — they’ll have to trim that number to 46, plus ten practice squad players.

Will they be over the cap or under it? That’s impossible to say. But what I can say for sure is that Toronto’s cap number at the moment is merely a hypothetical number. The Argos will look very different by the time the 2021 season gets underway, by which time we’ll have a better sense of whether or not they’ve overspent.


Hi guys,

Do you know whether former Calgary Dinos Quarterback, Adam Sinagra will
be in a CFL camp this spring?

Thanks in advance.

Eugene Jankowski


The former Vanier Cup MVP and Hec Crighton Trophy winner went undrafted in 2020 but had his rights secured by the Montreal Alouettes. He’s yet to sign a CFL contract, but the Als would have the first chance to sign him if he does.


Who would win in a fight — Justin Dunk or John Hodge? Bare knuckle, no prison rules, x5 3 min rounds?

Avery Desmarais

Hodge: I’m a lot bigger than Dunk, but he’d have a huge edge in the area of stamina. If I could get an early knockout, I’d bet on myself. If it goes past the first round or two, the smart money would be on Dunk.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.