Could Ted Laurent please just sign already!

A great article from Drew

On the verge of free agency, Ted Laurent poses a big problem

[b][i]With just over a week to go before the start of CFL free agency, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats find themselves caught between a big man and hard place.

The Ticats currently have 32 players slated to hit the open market at noon on Feb. 9, including a number of starters and high-profile players (particularly on defence). While the team has re-signed a few depth Canadians and made a big splash in acquiring American defensive end John Chick, general manager Kent Austin has not been able to lock down any of his big name guys. At least not yet.

The likely reason: 303 pounds worth of Ted Laurent.

The Canadian defensive tackle is one of the preeminent names on the might-be-available list – right at the very top, depending who you talk to. He’s one of the best players at his position, a CFL all-star the last two seasons. And he’s just 28-years-old, meaning he should be both productive and durable as he’s missed just three regular season games in two seasons and one was for a death in the family.

Put another way: Ted Laurent is a beast, who also happens to be Canadian. In the CFL, that means he’s about to get paid.

But just how much Laurent is worth remains an open question, particularly in a marketplace that appears poised for some upheaval. The inclusion of one-year contracts in the last collective bargaining agreement – a move that many general managers think is bad for both the quality and marketing of the game – has fully come home to roost with a record number of players (in the 200 range) set to hit the market.

That’s a lot of players with their hands out, expecting to finally get a slice of the TV and stadium money that started flowing before the 2013 season. That the cap has gone up just $100,000, to $5.1 million, the last two years doesn’t seem to be a deterrent on expectations. But there are also plenty of options for general managers which devalues the market further: as usual, the blue chip guys will get paid, everyone else will fight for scraps.

There has, however, been a slight disturbance in the normally predictable CFL pay scale which values elite level quarterbacks first, elite level Canadians second… and then everyone else. While the deals signed by Chick in Hamilton ($160,000 per season) and receiver Weston Dressler ($175,000) in Winnipeg are reasonable, last December the Edmonton Eskimos gave productive but drop-prone receiver Adarius Bowman more than $250,000 a year in his new contract, then dropped $175,000 on American defensive tackle Almondo Sewell.

That’s a lot of money for that particular position and if Sewell – who was the other CFL all-star at defensive tackle but has the wrong birth certificate – is worth that kind of dough, then what is the Hamilton big man worth, particularly to a team starving for national talent (cough, cough Saskatchewan) or a general manager already on the theoretical hot seat (as they could be in Montreal, B.C. and Winnipeg.)

The only way for Laurent to truly know his true value is to hit the open market on Feb. 9, something the Ticats are desperately trying to avoid. They’ve made no secret of their desire to re-sign Laurent and remain quietly optimistic that they’ll be able to do so: all signs are that Laurent likes playing in Hamilton and would return – for the right price.

In the meantime, the rest of Hamilton’s pending free agents wait in limbo: if the team is going to invest a serious chunk of change in Laurent, that will obviously impact how they manage their cap at other positions. Spending big on Big Ted means having to find value at other spots, in the same way that paying receivers Brandon Banks and Luke Tasker last season meant relying on newcomers on their rookie deals like Tiquan Underwood and Terrence Toliver to fill out the roster.

On the plus side, the Ticats should have some money to spend, with or without Laurent. Between his deal and the possible departure of mid-to-big ticket items of receiver Andy Fantuz, kicker Justin Medlock and defensive end Justin Hickman (who’s almost certainly gone), Austin should be a factor in the market – and he may have to be.

And it’s unlikely that Austin, given his nature and acumen, will allow the team to be held hostage by the demands of one player: if Austin comes to believe he has to move on from Laurent, he will and quickly. There’s no doubt already a Plan B. And C and D, too.

That said, Plan A remains B.I.G.: the only question is how much and when.[/i][/b]

Yes come on Ted Get the ball rolling to our 2016 Grey Cup winning season!

It is his choice totally, and he is likely waiting to get the best offer. It is in his own best interest to do so, but he likes playing here, and we love him playing here.

:rockin:

I only hope that we sign him soon as that should "open the floodgates" with our other potential FA's (as the article mentions).

:cowboy:

Laurent is already one of the highest paid players in the CFL. Around 200k I figure. My guess is he goes for between 225k and 250k. So they know exactly what he's going to fetch +-25k. He's not holding up the Cats. I think the biggest offer will come from Saskatchewan, Jones broke down his ratio last week and he's identified DT and Safety as positions he wants to play Canadians and he does not have players in place to make his system work. My guess is Laurent and Edem agent's already know there is interest.

I love Ted but the ONE area where we have the depth to backfill would be Canadian DT. Trust in Austin to allocate the funds appropriately. I do not expect a home town discount and Ted is set to break the bank somewhere. he deserves it.
And to Fantuz, I do think he will sign for a lot less and stay with the team. Even on one of the 1 year deals to reestablish his value...I hope anyways.

I've got a funny feeling that we won't re-sign Laurent and he will go elsewhere I'm thinking either Winnipeg or Saskatchewan. I'm also thinking that we could also lose Hall as well but re-sign Bulcke. Don't be surprised if our D-Line on opening day looks something like this barring any injuries.......de-John Chick/Adrian Tracey/Troy Davis...dt-Brian Bulcke/Drake Nevis/Linden Gaydosh/Evan Gill.

I agree and I think the Ticats would be quite ok with redirecting that money towards a Josh Bourke.

Well considering that all our OT's are Imports(Figueroa,Lewis,Dile,Olsen) and all are pending FA's, signing a Josh Bourke would be a definite plus and a great ratio buster in the grand scheme of things as we could use an additional import elsewhere in the line-up if we could get Bourke to sign on here. I've got a feeling though that he re-signs with the Als but he would look nice in Black and Gold this season along with the other ex-Al Ryan Bomben on our O-Line.

I think that when next Tuesday arrives and Free Agency season is officially opened it is going to be one crazy day with a record amount of players being free to sign with the highest bidder but with only so much money to go around things are going to get very interesting indeed.

Ted Laurent is a very good Nat. DT, but I doubt that any team, even Saskatchewan, would pay between $225,000 and $250,000 for this player. He is not worth this amount. I expect that he will be re-signed or signed for a salary closer to $195,000. With incentives he could receive roughly $210,000.

Richard

Did you expect Montreal would pay Carter 250k ?

Seems like a risky strategy to hold up the whole FA re-signing process while we wait for one guy to make up his mind. If TL hasn't made a decision by now it's probably clear that he wants to see what he's worth, and I suppose it's hard to blame him.

While he's a great player, I'm not sure it's worth risking the rest of our potential FAs without any assurance that we'll even land TL.

Of course, with most other teams in the same boat, I think many teams are going to be able to claim both significant losses and significant gains once the window opens up. I agree that this is bad for the league, since I already think players spend too little time on one team.

maybe but than if he is stalling for offers he is holding up other teams as well so I guess it equals out in the end

im a silver lining kinda guy :wink:

Big Teddy is worth the wait.

Big Teddy IS worth the wait..........BUT...........Only IF he signs with us........Fingers crossed.......

There are more WR's making in excess of $200,000. than there are defensive linemen.

I never expected Montreal to pay $250,000 for Duron Carter, since I never expected that he would return to the CFL. This being said, Duron Carter is paid too much.

Richard

Its not as bad for the team on a 1 year deal.
Players hoping to go to the states will cash in on 1 year deals, taking away leverage from teams trying to negotiate longer term (even though those longer term contracts do nothing to benefit the player)

Usually when Drew writes a piece on a player, that player signs with the club. It is like a heads up. Somehow, this time it could be to prepare us for a departure. I hope not because Ted and Medlock are key players on our team. The salary cap makes decisions much more difficult. If we lose Laurent, then Bulcke, Gaydosh, Atkinson, Hazime, and Gill become more important to the Dline. If we lose Medlock, we are in deep trouble with no comparable replacement. Courtney Stephen is another valuable piece to the puzzle that we can't afford to lose.
Like the CFL Draft, I have no idea where Austin will go with free agency but it certainly makes for interesting times here in the Hammer.

Pat Lynch(the old guy)

Well it fosters the instability and player turnover which IMO is why we have players who suit up and don't even understand the rules. Might be the reason why Austin has allowed 30 odd free agents (at one point). I can see Austin saying. First criteria is a guy wanting to be here and sticking to his plan. We are seeing some very different ways of approaching building football teams right now. I find that interesting.

I think he can get 225. Hope he stays here and for less though :slight_smile:

Him and Sewell are the two best DT in the league and Ted is Canadian... A top notch offensive guard fetches around 200k now...

The fact that they haven't signed him before the 8th tells you that he is likely gone.
It's the same with Capicotti and Shologan in Ottawa, two valuable Canadians that likely will move because of the cap.