Argos Pass on Damon Allen Contract**

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If Damon Allen is to be back with the Argonauts next season he may have to take a pay cut.

The 43-year-old quarterback was not among players who had their contracts extended before last Saturday’s CFL deadline, when any signing would not have counted toward next season’s $4.05 million salary cap.

Allen is eligible to become a free agent on Feb. 15, but he could still reach a new agreement with the Argos before then.

It is unlikely, however, that he would receive anything more than the approximately $250,000 he earned this season, after he proved ineffective in two playoff games and was benched in both contests in favour of backup Michael Bishop.

If Allen decides he wants to return for a 22nd CFL season and fifth year with the Argos, he could be asked to take a sizeable pay cut if he is not the team’s starter.

Argo GM Adam Rita yesterday would only say that his quarterback situation remains unresolved and may remain that way for several weeks.

“First of all, it’s up to Damon to decide if he wants to return,” said Rita. “Beyond that I can’t say too much at this time.”

Before dealing with the quarterback question, Rita has a few other tasks.

First, he must replace himself as the team’s offensive coordinator. He took on that responsibility after Kent Austin was fired in mid-season.

But he has said he doesn’t want to remain in that job “unless I have to.”

Rita confirmed he has spoken to Steve Burrato, who was recently fired by the Calgary Stampeders.

Montreal Alouettes running back and receivers coach Marcel Bellefeuille is also said to be a candidate, as is current Argo receivers coach Paul LaPolice.

Danny Barrett, who is no more than 50-50 to be retained by the Saskatchewan Roughriders as their head coach, could also be a candidate.

Once Rita has hired an offensive coordinator, head coach Mike Clemons, Rita and the new hire can discuss the quarterback situation. Among the issues to sort out: Do they want Allen back as the starter? Do they want him back as a backup? Does Allen want to come back as anything but the starter?

When asked that question the day after the Argos were eliminated in the East final by the Alouettes, Allen balked, saying he believes he can still be a No. 1 quarterback; he added he’d need time to ponder his future.

The new salary cap will play a significant role in how the Argos approach the situation.

If Bishop is deemed ready to take over the No. 1 job, he’d have to receive a substantial raise over his current salary — believed to be less than $70,000.

Then, the Argos would have to compensate him for not going to the Arena Football League this winter, where he could earn as much as $100,000 (U.S.) as a starting quarterback.

Pay Bishop that kind of money, along with Allen at his current salary, and third-stringer Eric Crouch would not fit under the cap.

The Argos extended the contracts of kicker/punter Noel Prefontaine, OG Jude St. John and CB Byron Parker during the season.

Before Saturday’s deadline they also signed RB Jeff Johnson, DE Riall Johnson, DB Khalil Carter, DB Ken Wheaton and OL Jon Landon.

Along with Allen, those who remain eligible for free agency if they have not re-signed by Feb. 15 are DB Chris Hardy, OT Jerome Davis, WR R.Jay Soward, DE Eric England, WR David Azzi and QB Spergon Wynn.

Soward and Wynn are unlikely to be offered new contracts.

Nothing surprising here.

Even as a Ti-Cat fan/Argo hater, I think it would be nice to see Allen have one more good year seeing as the Grey Cup is in Toronto next year.

Maybe have Toronto lose to Hamilton in the eastern final.

Allen is finished if he can't or doesn't take off a few times for a crucial first down like he used to. Maybe last year was an anomaly with his broken finger, I don't know, but he seemed to have lost his verve to do so which usually signals the end of the line for a guy in sports.

I'm surprised at Soward, I thought he had a pretty decent year.

Allen for sure should announce his retirement. As for Soward, a bit of a surprise.

Stick a fork in him - he's done.

Just like Favre down in Green Bay, sometimes these guys just don't know when to hang up the cleats - I like Damon and admire all that he has done - truly one of the greats but he should do the dignified thing and retire, rather than go througfh the embarassment of being fired by the Argos.

Yeah, I agree, its time Damon gracefully retired.

Allen should retire now while he can still hold his head high. I hate seeing an athlete drag it out year after year only to be cast aside like yesterdays newpaper because he cant play anymore

Do you think he'll catch on with another team?

Not unless he is a back-up - much the way Danny Mac was this year in Calgary.

I think Damon is too proud to play second fiddle.

Come hold a clip board in Winnipeg Damon, you could play another 22 years in the league that way.

Agreed. I can't see him choosing to play backup over retirement.

He's finished. That interception he threw during the East Final before he was pulled, was one of the most pathetic passes I have ever seen. He couldn't even muster enough energy to run to attempt a tackle on the player who had the ball after the interception. He was finshed 2 years ago and was lucky he got one last Grey Cup with Toronto. I think he likes the money too much to quit.

You can't blame him for liking the money though, and he loves playing football. That's not a bad on him. But, if he's smart, he'll do what DMac has done and then all teams will want him as he'll be perceived to be someone that still wants to contribute to the game in whatever capacity, a real team player. And with his stats over the years, he's got that respect and a win-win thing. He'll know when to change his tune, hey, he'd be better than some qb's next year in this league, not mentioning any names of course, that could be the starters.

I just can't see him as a willing back-up. Apparently, he was sulking both times when he was pulled.

I have a feeling he'll re-sign in either Toronto or somewhere else as a 2nd or 3rd string qb. And more than likely mainly to be used in a teaching role like Danny Mac was this year to Henry Burris.

It all depends on ALLEN's finger surgary?

He was playing at 80% all season.

Sorry To Go A Little Off Topic But Out Of All Those Guys The Only Ones I'd Like To See Resigned Are Azzi, England, And Davis.

No offense, but why do you capitalize every word? It makes it painful to read your posts.

Back on topic: Allen is too old. He'll be 44 in July of '07...the guy needs to retire while he can still go out on a (relatively) high note. If he plays next year, I think he'll just embarrass himself.

He needs to retire, and go into coaching.

I agree, it is time for DA to hang up the cleats and move on. Hand the starting job to Bishop or someone else.He had his day in the sun...