Jones saga a head-scratcher as Argos await a resolution on the skilled receiver
The Argos continue to play the waiting game hoping saner heads will prevail as the TJ Jones saga lingers with no end in sight.
Bad enough the totally revamped team can’t formally introduce Jones to a receiving unit that looks pretty good on paper, but what’s particularly galling is the lack of communication around this topic.
For weeks, nothing, it seems, has been articulated and with each passing day the chances of Jones suiting up as an Argo grow dimmer.
Eventually, Jones will grow so annoyed at the process that he’ll hook up with some team down south, which is a shame.
At the end of the day, the Argos, and by extension the CFL, can use all the positive publicity they can generate, especially during an off-season in which free-agency has basically ended.
The scouting report on Jones is that he’s a versatile receiver with good hands who can line up all over the field. Moreover, he has the speed to make plays at all levels and can also be used in the return game.
In other words, he’s an ideal player for the CFL’s pass-happy game and field size.
His dad played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, one of the catalysts behind Jones’ desire to play three-down football.
His cousin and former teammate at Notre Dame is DaVaris Daniels, whom the Argos signed in free agency.
Jones’ godfather is Rocket Ismail, whose football career began in 1991 when he signed a lucrative deal with the Argos under then-GM Mike McCarthy.
One of Rocket’s Double Blue teammates is Michael (Pinball) Clemons, who replaced Jim Popp as club GM last season.
In a perfect world, the Argos could have formally stage a news conference featuring Jones, Rocket and Pinball on the same podium with new head coach Ryan Dinwiddie and the aforementioned Daniels.
It’s almost too good to be true until one begins to unravel the idiocy behind the new language surrounding the CFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, which officially kicks in this season.
Jones was born in Winnipeg and clearly qualifies as a Canadian. Because of that, under the current rules he’ll have to accept a salary based on the rookie scale.
Some GMs in the CFL chalk it up to one of those unintended consequences of a new deal, which might be true until one realizes the potential impact, and damage, such a rule will have on any Canadian playing in the NFL who wants to play three-down football.
Rules are meant to be bent and for the team’s union not to see the obvious benefit of having a quality Canadian in a Canadian league smacks of utter stupidity.
Jones played for the NFL’s Detroit Lions and New York Giants.
He has a full NFL pension and by accounts is holding out hope that the issue delaying his official signing with the Argos will get settled. But you wonder why the union hasn’t seen the light.
Too many petty games get played between the union and the league when issues surface that only reinforce the notion that the CFL is a mom-and-pop operation.
The CFL and the CFLPA avoided a work stoppage by agreeing to a new deal and with it the accompanying new language governing the new landscape.
Clearly, there was no thought given to the handful of Canadian-born players who happen to play in the NFL whose career arch may one day bring them back to Canada.
Ironically, Canadian-born players who leave, for whatever reason, the NFL to join the CFL, are not eligible to earn rookie honours but they are subject to the league’s negotiated rookie scale.
It makes no sense and neither does it make sense to have Jones in football limbo.
This should have been cleared up months ago and not allowed to fester like it has. The CFLPA must do the right thing by realizing how ridiculous its position is as it applies to Jones.
Chances are, given the recent history of politics, some internal discussions are being held with the union trying to extract something from the league that paves the way for Jones to officially sign with the Argos.
That in itself speaks to how minor league relations are between the league and its union.
At the end of day, right thing seems so easy to initiate and yet Jones can’t begin to learn the offensive system Dinwiddie wants to install, let alone make plans for where he should find a place to live in Toronto.
The longer this situation continues the more it looks bad on the union and the league because the CFL’s mandate is to ensure the best players are on the field.
ARGOS BEEF UP O-LINE
The Argos’ off-season makeover continued Monday with the signings of American offensive linemen Norman Price and Jatitus Allen.
In virtually every facet of the team’s football operations the Argos have turned the page from back-to-back four-win seasons, including the offensive line.
Given the quality of Canadian depth the team has assembled, a pool that will decidedly improve if and when the TJ Jones saga finally has a resolution, there is a possibility the Argos can start an American at centre.
Of all the free-agent activity the Argos have experienced, one of the biggest losses was Sean McEwen, the team’s all-star centre, signing with Calgary.