Head coach Ryan Dinwiddie is negotiating a contract extension with the Toronto Argonauts as his current deal is set to expire following the upcoming 2023 CFL season.
“I sat down with my agent, we’re trying to iron out a deal with Toronto to stay there. I really enjoy it there, my wife’s really starting to enjoy the city. We miss Calgary because she’s from there and I lived here but we’re really enjoying Toronto, so I’m looking forward to it,” Dinwiddie told 3DownNation at the league’s winter meetings in Kananaskis, Alta.
“I enjoy the chance I get to go to a Raptors game or a Leafs game, some of the opportunities that MLSE provides for you that other provinces or other leagues don’t provide for you to get you outside of football and get you involved in the city.”
“I look forward to that but you never know, if the phone call rings and if it’s the right [NFL] opportunity, you’ve gotta sit down with the wife and evaluate that and have those conversations but right now we’re just focused on being in Toronto for a long time.”
The 42-year-old was hired as the team’s head coach in December 2019 and made his sideline debut in August 2021 following the CFL’s cancelled season in 2020. He has led the team to a 20-12 record, back-to-back first-place finishes in the East Division and an upset victory in the 109th Grey Cup over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“We will certainly be looking to extend him right away this year, but if there are opportunities that come up, we’re not necessarily opposed to those things, either. You don’t want to keep people back, especially when you care about ’em,” general manager Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons said.
“I really enjoy working with Pinball, really appreciate MLSE and the opportunity that we have in Toronto to build off what did this year. Are you going to win it every year? Who knows, but let’s be consistent winners, let’s bring a little juice to the city. It’s a great city and I think it attracts players from the States, I really do,” Dinwiddie said.
Dinwiddie revealed during Grey Cup week that he was offered a job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while on staff with the Calgary Stampeders. He received a phone call while snowboarding during the off-season and decided not to pursue the opportunity due to the timing.
“I just didn’t feel it was the right time to leave that opportunity and potentially get fired the next year or the head coach gets fired and then I’m looking for a job again when I really enjoyed my time here,” Dinwiddie said.
“I think everybody wants to coach in the NFL, it’s life-changing money. You don’t make a lot of money in the CFL but it’s a great job and I enjoy it, so it’s all about fit.”
Calgary had just lost back-to-back Grey Cups and Dinwiddie was coaching a future Canadian Football Hall of Fame quarterback in Bo Levi Mitchell. He knew it wasn’t the right time to leave, even if the allure of an NFL offer was tempting.
Dinwiddie indicated that he is looking to add multiple years to his existing pact with Toronto, though he is prepared to coach through the final year of his contract if an extension can’t be reached.
“I think we have that advantage to bring in guys. You have your negotiation list and those guys have to come to you but some of the guys outside of that, you make a phone call and they’re like: ‘Oh, Toronto!?’ Dinwiddie explained.
“Guys are excited coming from the States to come play in a city like Toronto. We want to get more attendance and bring some more energy around our building and go from there but I think we’re going in the right direction.”