Hufnagel says Stamps don’t have money left for free agency: ‘The only thing I can afford is McDonald’s’

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

When free agency officially opens Tuesday, don’t expect the Calgary Stampeders to be among the teams signing the guys at the top of 3DownNation’s free agents list and the reason behind that is pretty clear to those paying attention.

“I’ve spent all my money,” general manager John Hufnagel said via videoconference before later adding: “The only thing I can afford is McDonald’s.”

Calgary has already tapped out its bank account to re-sign 16 pending free agents and the addition of ratio-breaking linebacker Cameron Judge, who was acquired via trade from the Toronto Argonauts in exchange for defensive back Royce Metchie.

But that isn’t to say the Stampeders are done making moves, either. When asked about the futures of players like Shawn Lemon, DaShaun Amos, and others, Hufnagel refused to tip his hand.

“We will see what happens in the next 24 hours,” he said. “I’m not going to run through a list of individual players right now, and we will leave it at that.”

One player Hufnagel did speak to was defensive back Raheem Wilson, who he said should be expected to put his pen to paper today while hinting there may be others.

Hufnagel believes the Stampeders have somewhat of an advantage in free agency as they have achieved 16 consecutive playoff berths, including seven first-place finishes and six second-place finishes in the West Division.

“Calgary is a nice place to live. We are a team that has been a winning team and that helps when a player is going through his decision process, but the bottom line is that the green talks,” he said.

“How much money can I pay the guys? You aren’t going to please everybody and so you are going to win some and lose some. You just have to win more than you lose.”

All of this is to say that the Stampeders made a big splash on day one of free agency in 2019, adding Branden Dozier, Richard Leonard, Ronnie Pfeffer, and Sean McEwen, two of whom remain on the roster.

This year, seems that Calgary is more likely to go bargain shopping on day two or day three of free agency like a savvy garage sale entrepreneur grabbing big value for cheap as time runs out on the weekend.

Bargain hunting and drafting has sustained this team through the Hufnagel era and it seems as though the Stampeders are headed back sifting for gold, rather than throwing good money after bad.

Ryan Ballantine is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.