There are very few names in Ti-Cat land that spark as much deliberation and are a bigger lightning rod for debate than that of Sam Giguère. This contentious conversation its highest volume levels with the recent announcement that the third-year national receiver rejected general manager Kent Austin’s initial contract-extension offer.
Just perusing the various online for a, blogs and social media sites, you will encounter words and phrases such as “bust,” “a wasted roster spot,” “never lived up to the hype” and so on and so forth. The negative assessments, conclusions and labels far outnumber the positive comments when it comes to numéro onze.
As self-appointed defense counsel for Mssr. Giguère, I shall now present you with the case for his defense and why the Tiger-Cats should increase their offer and secure his services for the near future.
Exhibit A: Overall Team Performance
Since Sammy G’s arrival in Steeltown, the Tiger-Cats’ passing offense has been one of the most potent in the league, ranking first or second in most all of the important passing related categories each and every year. Sam has been a consistent starter and contributor within a receiving unit that has put up the most yards and yards per pass attempt combined over the last three seasons.
Now, I realize that not every team starts two nationals at the receiver position, but if you look at all the Canadians at the skill positions per team, you will see that Hamilton has produced more out of their homegrown players than any other team in the league.
It is clear when looking at these two charts that it can be concluded that Sam Giguère has been an important part of one of the most prolific passing attacks in the league, as well as making Hamilton the new home for the CFL’s Canadian Air Force.
Exhibit B: Overall Personal Performance
Over the last three seasons, Giguère has accumulated the sixth-most receiving yards amongst all national receivers. In fact, he has a better yards per catch average than every other player except for Saskatchewan’s duo of Chris Getzlaf and Rob Bagg.
These production numbers are impressive when you consider that he is the No. 2 national receiver on his team and played a significant amount of his early career in the Z-Spot, where the amount of targets are considerably less than the other positions.
Exhibit C: Career Start
There are few players across the CFL that have had as an impressive start to their career as Giguère. In the first three seasons of their careers, only fellow teammate Andy Fantuz, the aforementioned Robb Bagg and Shawn Gore of British Columbia have accumulated more yards or receptions than Sam has in the first three years of their careers.
Some will say that others suffered injuries or were backups to begin their careers and while this is true, it just further makes the case for Mr. Giguère. The fact that the others did not start immediately or missed more games due to injury does not detract from Giguère’s impressive career start, it enhances it. The focus should be upon the fact that he did start almost immediately and despite a significant hand injury that required surgery, missed only a minimal amount of games.
Exhibit D: Value Within the Ratio
When I first started to explore and write upon this issue, it quickly evolved into a double-digit paragraph composition worthy of its very own posting. So with that in mind, I will be brief in this discussion and explore the matter further at another time.
Many people say that the Tiger-Cats would be better off by starting a national player somewhere else in the lineup thus opening up Sam’s position for an International player. My simple response to this proposition is this: There is only one football to go around and how much more production will you realistically get with such a move?
As we have already seen, Hamilton has had the top-ranked passing offense over the last three years in the CFL.
In 2014, Sam was the Ti-Cats’ fifth-leading receiver just slightly behind Brandon Banks by one reception and nine yards. Many say that Sam needs to be the third- or fourth-leading receiver behind Andy Fantuz and whomever their leading international receiver will be. So with that in mind let us look at other teams’ third and fourth receiver and the kind of production that can be expected.
As you can see, the third- or fourth-leading receivers on other teams, regardless of nationality, have not contributed a significant amount of increased production over what Sam achieved as the Tiger-Cats’ fifth passing target. In fact, the average is a six per cent increase for the third receivers versus a 20 per cent decrease for the fourth receivers as compared to Giguère.
I would conclude that the expected production increase by making a ratio change and substituting an international for a national position at receiver is very little and not worth the trad off. When you also consider Giguère’s value as a player who can step in should Andy Fantuz miss any time due to injury, you must conclude that he represents excellent ratio value.
Exhibit E: Expectations and Biases
Unfortunately, I do not have any more charts or graphs as evidential support for this issue, but it is my belief that much of the negative perceptions of Samuel Giguère are due to unrealistic expectations and biases that were put and continue to be laden upon him.
Firstly, I do not intend to paint all Tiger-Cat fans with the stroke of a broad paintbrush. Yet, there are some peculiar things when it comes to Hamilton as a fan base.
Many believe and have even said that Giguère has not lived up to expectations. That is an interesting issue since it involves two distinct variables: his actual performance and your expectations. As has been laid out above, GIguère’s performance, while not extraordinary, has been well above average. He has been one of the better national receivers in the league since his arrival. An impressive start to his career is only surpassed by a few names that are recognized as the absolute best in the game.
So then it comes down to expectations. And it is my contention that many of the expectations of Samuel Giguère have been clouded by biases.
The fact that Giggy “spurned” Hamilton by plying his craft south of the border prior to signing with the Cats seems to have irked and irritated many, and I believe continues to characterize him. I find this peculiar since it contradicts similar situations we are currently witnessing. NFL aspirations of players like Delvin Breaux, Brandon Banks, Linden Gaydosh and even Chris Williams are and were not met with such negativity.
I believe there are other biases at play when it comes to the views and opinions of Samuel Giguère. I realize this may be thought of as incendiary or inflammatory, but in my opinion the major one is that Sam hails from Quebec and is French-Canadian. There is no easy way of saying this, but the “French” issue is one that still exists in Canada. Not everyone and not everywhere, but it would be absurd to suggest that it does not exist nor taint some peoples’ views and opinions upon things.
Just because Sam is from Quebec, many naturally assume that he does not want to be here.
Just because Sam tried his hand at bobsledding, we conclude that he does not like football and does not want to be here.
Just because Sam is heavily muscled and a naturally gifted athletically, we say that he does not work or tries hard and appears uninterested and unengaged.
To me, these are all absurd statements and hypocritical in many ways since the same can be said about other players yet are not concluded in the same fashion. The only reason for the difference in conclusions as I see it is due to his French-Canadian heritage.
My client, Samuel Giguère, has been an invaluable member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in his three years with the team. His production value has exceeded most all of his peers and trails only a select few of the elite national receivers in the game today, of which Sam has all the potential in becoming.
Kent Austin would be advised to do his best to secure the services of Mssr. Giguère for the coming years as he enters the prime of his career and is poised to become an even more significant contributor.