Henry Burris is being sent to Hamilton in exchange for Kevin Glenn and Mark Dewit.
I have made no secret of my feelings on Burris coming and Glenn leaving, so it's obvious I don't agree with this trade. But instead of restating an argument I've already made, there are others reasons why I think this is not a good trade.
First, the Cats gave up too much. A straight-up Burris-for-Glenn swap would have been more palatable than dealing Glenn and Dewit. Handing Calgary a good, young, Canadian player – and one that filled in admirably for one of the best Centres in the CFL in Marwan Hage when the latter was lost for the season in September – is not the type of move a team that had ratio problems should make. Dewit proved in 2011 that he can play, and Hage is closer to the end than the beginning. Trading Dewit makes no sense.
The second problem is Hamilton will now have to pay Burris a lot more than it was paying Glenn. Why Hamilton didn't wait until Burris was eventually released – and we all know that Burris's days in Calgary were numbered, but that was solidified when Drew Tate signed a contract extension last week – and sign him at a much more financially sensible number? Rumours are that Burris makes somewhere between $400,000 to $450,000, which means Burris's salary will take up almost 1/10th of the league's $4.3-million salary cap per team. That's a huge chunk. Perhaps Burris has agreed to a pay cut, but he wasn't willing to do that for Calgary, so what are the chances he'd be willing to do it for Hamilton?
There seems to have been no rush to make this change. The team still doesn't have a Head Coach, so it's not like Burris will have a system to learn right away, so waiting another month (when Burris is owed a bonus by the Stamps that they were probably not going to pay) wouldn't have been a detriment. Making a move now seems unnecessary. Another 30 days wouldn't have hurt the team, and may have helped them by getting to negotiate a deal with Burris at a much more attractive number.
With a new Head Coach and Quarterback, the pressure will be on for Hamilton to win it all in 2012. Anything less than a Grey Cup championship will have to be viewed as a complete failure. These are the type of moves teams make to get them over the proverbial hump, so unless Burris and whomever the Head Coach is takes the Cats beyond the East Final, the moves, especially at Quarterback, will have been pointless. Burris, who will be 37 before the 2012 season starts, is not the long-term answer at Quarterback, so this is a win-now move.
Now we just have to wait for things to be made official, but it looks like Burris is headed to Steeltown.