No talks yet with Henry

Drew Edwards @scratchingpost 5h
#Ticats coach Kent Austin says there have been no talks with pending free agent QB Henry Burris.

What are they waiting for?

Wouldn't surprise me in the least if Austin is going after Collaros instead.

I dont expect Hank to be back. We got 4 qbs under contract all 28 and under and all of them have great potential :cowboy:

I would be offering Henry a 1 + 1 contract. 1 year guaanteed. 1 year at the team’s option. I honestly can’t see why Hamilton would offer him more in the way of tenure. Furthermore, I’d be offering him a reduced rate of pay. Something between $200K & $300K.

I know Henry thinks of himself as an “Elite? or “Top 2 to 3? Quarterback in this league. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s good, but I don’t think he belongs in that class at this point in his career. I ask you this … given the opportunity to sign/have Ricky Ray or Travis Lulay … I’m sure most, if not all, would go with Ray & Lulay. Given the choice of Burris versus Durant … If you take the “black & gold? sun glasses off for a moment, I would think you would see it as a draw or a slight advantage to DD due to age & upside potential career length. Putting Henry against Mike Reilly … I think it’s a hard choice yet again since Reilly has a lot of upside since we haven’t seen him with true weapons & an offensive game plan.

Burris versus Glenn? I know this is a hot issue in these parts. But realistically, no side can claim a pure victory. Both at times have led their teams to victory Both at times have soiled the sheets. Both have been benched in favour of youthful competitors. Both have appeared in Grey Cups. Both would have wished for much more in those Championship Games. Kevin & Henry’s recent careers & where they are now are truly similar & almost mirror images of each other.

So with that … Can you really put Henry in the Top 2 QB’s in the CFL? I’m not so sure.

I’ll be honest … I’m torn when it comes to Burris. One part of me says to let him go. Let him walk. See if anyone will give him the +$400K & multi-year contract he thinks he deserves. I honestly don’t think he’ll get that, but what do you do then? When he comes back & accepts what you’re offering … do you resign him at a bargain rate even though the league has just verified & vindicated your viewpoint that he is not an Elite & Top 2 QB?

It’s a fine line to manage no doubt. The TiCats have LeFevour who gained useful professional experience this season. They have NFL Vets Brian Brohm & Stephen McGhee in the wings waiting to show what they can do. I honestly see Henry as the QB that Austin inherited & he gave him the length of rope to either hoist him out of the hole or hang himself. Personally, I think he hung himself. If you look at the last few critical games, he was effective 25% of the time generously. 1 quarter in the GC. 1 half of success in the EDF. Shared 1 quarter of success in the EDSF. Nothing in the game versus MTL that clinched home-field.

25% success in clutch games. Austin & staff put the ball in his hands for the EDF & GC and he played well in 1 half out of 4 (rounded). Once again, I believe that Austin looks at Burris as the QB he inherited in year 1 & is not the QB he wants. Austin got what the franchise needed & wanted. Make the playoffs. Host a playoff game. Win a playoff game. (Remember … he did that with a non traditional offensive set & 2 & 3 QB system)

Offer Henry a 1 + 1 contract. 1 year guaanteed. 1 year at the team’s option. Something between $200K & $300K.

Make it clear that he’ll be competing for a spot & that he’ll be sharing time in a 2 or multi-quarterback system. Not sure Hank will accept that … but … Again … I honestly can’t see him getting a much better offer.

Probably Darian Durant…

I'm of two minds on this as well. Burris got them to the Cup....but's he consistently inconsistent. Maybe time to go in a new direction.

Player contracts aren't guaranteed. The team could sign Henry to a 10 year contract and release him in training camp. Or at the end of the season. Or in training camp next year. The downside is if/when his role changes, the team might want to retain him, but not at the salary they negotiated that contract for. In that situation they'd have try to convince him to negotiate his salary down, accept overpaying him in a reduced role (not bloody likely), or release him. But the only scenario I'm aware of where a team might be "forced" to keep paying a player when they'd prefer not to would be if the player were injured, and my understanding is even in that case they are only required to pay his contract for the remainder of the year the player incurred the injury.

I think Austin wants to gamble that Burris' only potential suitor is Winnipeg, and that Burris doesn't want to go there. I see a take-it-or-leave-it offer from Austin, possibly for longer than 1+1, but for way less money than Burris would like.

Burris knows exactly what HAM is offering. HAM knows Burris would like more.

I like this analysis. I don't agree with it but it's pretty good. My point would be, as this post so clearly points out, that what else is out there? You have compared Hank to QBs who are clearly not leaving the teams they are on and QBs who are for all intents and purposes untested. Hank's experience and the lack of tested and available QBs mean signing Hank, at his rate is a no-brainer. I also think that blaming Burris of "inconsistent play" is a cliche of convenience. It's a team game with a very complex offencive scheme and his play at all times made the Cats better. Not every bad game, series or play the fault of the quarterback or can be simply boiled down to a "good Hank, Bad Hank" dichotomy which for some reason has been accepted as the gospel truth on this forum.

So unless Lulay, Durant or maybe even Drew Tate call in the next few days, as I see it Hank is the ONLY option. And a darn good one too.

let's compare Burris to what is ACTUALLY available;


Burris has a better established track record, but the others have more years left and lots of potential.
if they're going to let Burris walk, the tabbies had better land one of the other two.
Lefevour has shown very little in the passing game. almost all of his time on the field has been running plays. to be a full-time starter, you need more than just your legs. i haven't seen enough of him to bet the farm on his play over 18 games. if going with a young unproven guy, i'd like to hedge my bet and have Willy or Collaros on my roster for training camp as well.

let's also keep in mind, there is always a possibility of the tabbies landing a QB through trade, which would mean someone i didn't list above.

I very much would like to see Henry re-signed!
He got us to the Grey Cup last year, started every game and came up one game short.
Yeeesh!, Like what have you done for me lately?
IMHO I would think that Caretaker would want Henry back to open THF with the best QB available.
I know that Caretaker would not interfere with Austin, but, you would think he would have some input.
We have waited an excruciatingly long time to get a berth in the Championship game, and I really do not want to go into this season with an unproven inexperienced QB and take steps back to mediocrity.
Get him signed and get us a Grey Cup!
Henry is in outstanding shape and easily has 2 more great years in him.

Austin is always saying, "What is best for the Team"
Well Henry Burris is "what is best for this Team" by far!

If you are listing free agents, I believe Durant (as well as Sheets) are free agents and neither have signed a new contract with the Riders yet…

Edit: Whoops, nope it’s Dressler, not Durant…I should fact check before posting…

Nah, there’s no fun in that…

It's hard to say what is going on between Austin and Burris right now, I think they are at a standstill in their talks and I don't expect Burris to resign with the Cats unless a good deal can be reached for both sides.

I think Burris is obviously looking for more money and a longer term deal in the range of two or three years and I think the Cats are not ready to commit to that, not with the quality of QB's we have. It would be great to see Henry back as a Tiger-Cat but I don't think it will happen and he will end up elsewhere in the CFL like Winnipeg or possibly Montreal, you never know in the CFL.

I agree that a free agent signing like Drew Willy or Zack Collaros would make the decision easier but maybe their is someone else on Austin's radar that he might have for consideration if a Burris deal doesn't materialize.


Hard to reconcile this:

With this:

I wish Austin had been a little more clear. . . no talks, but are talks planned or not?

Way too many possibilities.

  • Austin has contacted Burris's agent, but has had no reply yet.
  • Burris's agent has contacted Austin, but he has not replied yet.
  • Neither Austin nor Burris's agent has contacted the other.

And way too many unanswered questions.

Does Austin want him back? Does Burris actually want to come back? Is Burris playing a waiting game to see what other offers he might get in February? How far apart are the salary demands if indeed both parties are interested?

However, given the potential for clouding any future negotiations, I can see why Austin's statement didn't say much. I'm surprised that he made the statement at all.

This is going to come down to whether or not Austin wants Burris back or not. Its that simple. contract length wont matter.

Familiar faces fade away as Kent Austin puts stamp on Ticats
By Drew Edwards
It's becoming clear that 2013 Hamilton Tiger-Cats were not Kent Austin's team.

They were a hodge-podge of leftovers from the Bob O'Billovich era, the hybrid experiment that was the Obie-George Cortez season, and the changes that Austin managed to make in his first season on the job.

Those changes were substantial — the Ticats used a record number of players last season — but the result still wasn't what could be described as an ideal Austin squad.

But it's coming. Fast.

The most recent indicator is the departure of veteran receiver and fan favourite Dave Stala, released Thursday after playing five seasons with his hometown club. Stala was picked up Friday by the Montreal Alouettes, the team he spent his first six CFL seasons with before joining the Ticats as a free agent.

Stala is the latest in a series of veteran players to be shown the door under the Austin regime, joining the likes of linebackers Rey Williams and Markeith Knowlton as well as veteran centre Marwan Hage. With free agency just around the corner, that list could grow to include quarterback Henry Burris, linebacker Jamall Johnson and special teams stalwart Marc Beswick.

Those players have formed a large part of Hamilton's core leadership group over the past few seasons. Williams was the undisputed leader of the defence in his time here, and Johnson filled that role upon his departure. Knowlton was a universally respected veteran presence. Hage is a CFLPA vice-president and a high-profile community face. Stala was the local boy done good. Burris, Johnson and Beswick were the offensive, defensive and special teams captains from last season.

For all the benefits of experienced players and veteran leadership — and it is, quite simply, impossible to win much of anything without them — there is a down side from a head coach's perspective. Vets are more likely to be outspoken in the locker-room, questioning coaching techniques and game plans. They have the ability to influence younger players, for better or worse. And they are more likely to demand playing time and complain or pout when they don't get it. Experience brings a certain degree on entitlement in any profession and football is no different.

Here's another thing: veterans are expensive. Proven players, especially those playing skill positions or carrying Canadian birth certificates, cost exponentially more than guys pulled from the NFL scrap heap or young Canucks trying to establish a pro career. In a salary cap league without guaranteed contracts, aging players with hefty deals — and every single player mentioned so far fits into that category — are particularly vulnerable.

When veteran players are producing at their peak, whatever headaches they bring are worth it. But as soon the inevitable decline in performance brought on by age begins, a coach and general manager — and Austin is both — starts to weigh their contribution against the costs, financial and otherwise, of having them around. When those costs are deemed too great, well, don't let the Black and Gold door hit you in your aging butt on the way out.

It's also true, generally speaking, that coaches and general managers prefer what's colloquially referred to as "their guys," players that they believe have the physical and mental tools to suit their football systems and leadership style. Part of the unprecedented turnover of last season was Austin replacing existing players with "his guys" — and that process has continued into this off-season.

As current leaders depart, new ones will take their place and they'll likely be a closer embodiment of what Austin is looking for. Given his force of personality, it's clear that leadership on this particular incarnation of the Ticats flows from Austin and, given the early results, that's hard to argue with. That he dragged a team of not-his-guys to the championship game this season is his drop-the-mic argument for coach-of-the-year.

But there are ancillary costs to that approach and, as we've seen, some of them will be wearing familiar jerseys.

Austin likes to say that this is the players' team, that leadership flows from them. And that's true, in a way.

What's left unsaid is that he's the one picking the players.

905-526-2481 | @scratchingpost

I think Drew "hit the nail on the head" with that.

As much as I don't like to see guys "get the door", it is what it is. This is "Austin's team", that he is assembling.

I just hope it doesn't add a couple years to another "Cup Appearance".

As for the "coach of the year"...well, I've seen that be the "kiss of death" before. :roll:

Pretty darn good article and insight by Drew.

KA is a take charge person, and he is in fact in charge, so to see changes is to see the expected. There will be more. What this means about any particular player's role or future with the team is hard to predict of course. But as time goes by, the Austin way of doing things and putting together a football team will be the way it is. He may make decisions from time to time that I regret seeing, or that make me nostalgic (easy to get caught up in the mists of memory about good players and good community members), or that even seem incorrect to me. But so far, I'm very favourably impressed with his approach and his demeanour, and I trust his judgment about how to construct and run a team. If that means having to take the sad with the good, so be it, I'm on board.

With long time vets Hage and Stala already gone,don’t be surprised if Burris,Johnson,Dyakowski,Webb,Jones,Beswick etc aren’t around when the 2014 season starts.The Cats have 4 other Q.B’s under contract,a stable of young LB’s,ditto for the D-Backfield,4 young O.L just signed,and Austin brought in Tasker who replaced Jones late in the year,who he appears to be high on.Austin,like any other coach has a vision and thought process on who and what he wants in a player for his team.He started the rebuilding process last year,and made great leaps and bounds with his rookie laden team,replacing roughly 1/2 the roster from the Cortez team of 2012.In year two of his regime,look for Austin to further put his stamp on this team and further himself away from the team he adopted last year.The only drawback to this,is that every team needs to be a good mix of young and old as it stands right now though minusing pending FA the roster has only really Dyakowski as a long standing Ti-Cat vet with 7 yrs served on the club,after that basically the rest of the squad have been here for 1-3 yrs only.People have to remember that Burris was Cortez’s boy,not Austin’s,I mean you have to ask yourself,why did the team keep Brohm around all season and sign McGee 1/2 way through the year,if Austin didn’t have plans for one of them or both next year.I would love to see Burris resigned and back,but won’t be a bit surprised if the team let’s him walk in FA. and like I said earlier more vets let go,as Austin continues to remold this team in his own image.