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  • Xs and Argos Staff

Argos Release Two Starters

In a stunning, but also not stunning move, the Toronto Argonauts have released American defensive backs Crezdon Butler and Jeff Richards, two starters from last season.

It’s stunning because neither player was stressing the salary cap and both men played extremely well last season on a defense that drove the Argos to the best record in the East. It’s not stunning because something had to give with so much starting-caliber talent in the Toronto secondary, including a pair of expensive signings this offseason.

Just before the start of free agency in February, Toronto traded Cam Judge’s playing rights to Calgary for Royce Metchie’s playing rights. Later that same day, the Argos made the Canadian safety the second highest paid defensive back in the CFL.

This move strongly suggested Toronto would be making safety a Canadian position, with Josh Hagerty already dressing and getting playing time as a backup there. That meant returning starting safety, Crezdon Butler would need to move positions or be released. There was some thought they’d keep Butler around. He has versatility having played halfback in BC and SAM backer previously, so with the Chris Edwards suspension looming, keeping him was always a possibility. Ultimately, the Argos knew they had other experienced options at SAM in both Shaq Richards and Robertson Daniel, plus they still had a sensational defensive back in Treston Decoud theoretically on the bench, and he profiles extremely well at that position.

The release of Jeff Richards was a direct result of Toronto signing CFL West All-Star DaShaun Amos to a big contract at the start of free agency in February. Both players are and have been field halfbacks, and with Shaq Richardson playing at an All-Star level at halfback on the boundary side, the move was inevitable.

Last season, Richards played in 13 games, recording 42 tackles with an interception. Butler also played 13 games, with 35 tackles and an interception. Both were playing at a high enough level last season to start on a number of other teams if they wish to return to the CFL in 2022.


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