The top brass of the Argos met with the media on Tuesday to discuss their reasoning behind trading away quarterback Nick Arbuckle to the Edmonton Elks for a conditional 2022 second-round pick and the negotiation rights to former NFL and Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly.
Toronto Argonauts Vice President of Player Personnel John Murphy and Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie addressed the Arbuckle trade. Here’s what they had to say in regards to the move made by the franchise. It’s rather evident that the team’s massive injury list played a significant part in Tuesday’s trade.
Argos VP Of Player Personnel John Murphy
John Murphy told the media today that the reasoning for trading Nick Arbuckle was three-fold.
Firstly, that McLeod Bethel-Thompson secured himself as the team’s starter when he “won the competition” and reestablished himself when he was brought back into the lineup. Secondly, because Antonio Pipkin brings a different dimension and variety to the team’s active roster as a backup, and lastly, Murphy pointed out how roster and salary limitations due to multiple injuries at this point of the season prohibited the team from having the luxury of a 1A and 1B quarterback. “Having two starting quarterbacks was a really good concept until this point.”
“In the last month, we played three games where we lost three Canadians in each of those games. I don’t think that I’ve had a season where I’ve had three Canadians get lost in a game that many times“.
“It’s just not something that you can successfully put your best A roster out there if at the same time, you are paying two starting quarterbacks.”
John Murphy also told the media that multiple CFL teams reached out about trading for any one of Toronto’s three quarterbacks at various points during the season. The talks with Edmonton for Arbuckle intensified in the last 24 hours. Murphy also told the media that his preference was to retain Arbuckle.
“There’s no doubt we wanted to find a way to maintain keeping both (McBeth & Arbuckle) throughout the rest of this season. It’s great to have an awesome Plan B. The real problem down the stretch would have been; you can’t expect that injuries are going to stop.”
It’s clear as day from John Murphy’s messaging that the Arbuckle trade came about because of budgetary and injury concerns in managing the team the rest of the way.
John Murphy also addressed the current state of the team. Saying that in this critical stretch of the season, he is hoping that the players who were brought in to be difference makers start to step up. After Monday’s comments by coach Dinwiddie where he admitted that Father Time may have caught up with Charleston Hughes. It’s clear who Murphy is referring to.
The Toronto Sun’s Frank Zicarelli wisely asked Murphy specifically about Hughes’s lack of production. To which, Murphy responded, after complimenting Hughes effort and character, “Hey, we are here to make plays. We are not here to almost make plays” “We didn’t sign somebody to almost get pressures” “For his job security and mine. He better start getting to the quarterback”.
Murphy harped heavily on all the All-Star players the team has on their injured list. He even partially joked about bringing in more trainers for reinforcements. Murphy also heavily stressed the importance of healthy core Canadians so that the roster can have a proper balance on game days due to the ratio.
Argos Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie
Dinwiddie gave his thoughts on parting ways with a player he is very familiar with from his Calgary days in Nick Arbuckle. “I have a great relationship with Nick. I appreciate him as a man… Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out. McLeod took the next step, and we feel like he is the starter. Finances came into it. We feel like Nick is going to have a bright future somewhere else.”
Ryan Dinwiddie also stressed that the decision to move forward with McLeod Bethel-Thompson as the team’s starting pivot was based not only on his play on the field but also on his role as a leader with his teammates. Dinwiddie is also pleased with Antonio Pipkin’s development. Since the summer, the first-year head coach has raved about Pipkin’s elite overall skillset. Pipkin’s growth throughout the season has made Dinwiddie comfortable at the QB position moving forward.
David Morassuti from Tip of The Tower asked Dinwiddie about how Arbuckle’s teammates responded to the trade. Dinwiddie stated that Arbuckle had many friends on the team and were devastated but they understood the business aspect of the deal.
Additional Argos News And Notes
On an eventful news day such as this, it’s easy to forget that the Argos are in the midst of preparations for Saturday’s pivotal home game with the BC Lions. An Argos (6-4) victory against the Leos (4-6) assures them a playoff spot and helps them keep pace in the Eastern Division. But a loss by Toronto would open the door for BC to keep their playoff hopes alive in the West and as a potential crossover team.
The Argos on Tuesday very quietly announced the signing of another Canadian player in WR Brian Jones. The 6’4 233 Novia Scotia native, Jones, was initially drafted by the Boatmen in the 1st round back in 2016 and played three seasons with Toronto as primarily a special teams player. Jones last played in the CFL in 2019 with Hamilton. With Llevi Noel still on the shelf due to injury. Jones could help fill Noel’s role as a top gunner.
The Argos also released their injury report from Tuesday’s practice. OL Shane Richards, who started on the interior in the last month at left and right guard, did not practice due to an ankle injury. The team is hoping to get starting guard Dariusz Bladek back from a biceps injury. Still, Richards’s inactivity could exacerbate the Argos issues on the right side of their line with RT Jamal Campbell out of the mix due to a quad injury.
On Tuesday, Argos Defenders, DL Kony Ealy, DB Jamal Peters, and LB Cam Judge were all limited in practice. All three would be welcome additions to Saturday’s lineup at home. Judge, in particular, would help alleviate some of the Argos issues against the run. It remains to be seen if he can make his way back by Saturday afternoon at BMO.
DB Arjen Colquhoun is listed as DNP, but in reality, he is done for the season with a dislocated ankle from last Friday’s game against Montreal. The Argos currently have 18 players on their injured list.
The CFL trade deadline is tomorrow at 5pm. In a perfect world, the Argos would-be buyers, looking to upgrade at offensive and defensive tackle. But after today’s presser, it appears that the team doesn’t have the financial wiggle room because of the injured list to make any moves of significance. We shall see.
Things changed fast for Nick Arbuckle in Toronto. From QB1 to QB Done. Way back when, the pairing of Nick Arbuckle and his former coordinator Ryan Dinwiddie was celebrated as a tandem that could be together in the Six for many years to come. Two months ago, Nick Arbuckle led the Argos in his first start to a victory against the 10-1 Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Arbuckle was named CFL performer of the week for his efforts. Flash forward to today, and he is no longer with the team.
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