The sting of Saturday’s refereeing clownapalooza hasn’t worn off yet. No fewer than three calls in the final Toronto possession of the game – a badly missed offside call on 3-17, an out-of-bounds fumble wrongly awarded to Toronto, and a phantom pass interference call that negated an interception – sealed the Argonauts win. But there were still a few bright spots in the game: running back CJ Gable returned from injury and had a banner game, hauling the ball for 157 yards on 18 carries.
So it was a bit of a shock when the Hamilton brass traded Gable to the Edmonton Eskimos on Monday morning for a couple of neg list players.
Are the Hamilton Tiger-Cats brass throwing in the towel, and relegating the 2017 season to the slag heap? Even with the weakest East division in years, are they so quick to pull the plug?
No, not just yet. In fact, the Gable trade might be a sign that the team is turning things around.
It’s Not About Saturday
First, the trade with Edmonton was anything but a reaction to the Calvinball-style reffing in Saturday’s game. This was clearly in the works for a while. Gable was coming back from injury, and got the start despite having a healthy Alex Green on the roster: Green had a fantastic showing against the BC Lions a couple of weeks ago.
Gable was being given a chance to shine not to win his position back, but to win a position with Edmonton. Get him fired up, give him the ball, and let him tear the field up. That would give the Eskimos management a reason to shake hands on the deal. Maybe Gable knew it, or maybe not (and he probably didn’t). But Hamilton was showing Edmonton that he still had value. Edmonton was clearly ready to buy what they were selling.
It’s About Gable
Hamilton was looking at Gable. He’s not that young, turning 30 this month. He’s had a spate of injuries. And the Tiger-Cats have Green to look to when they want to establish a ground game. Gable is a good running back, but he’s not irreplaceable. 343
And freeing up a little salary cap room is a good idea. With Masoli under centre for the foreseeable future, they are likely paying a lot of bonuses that they hadn’t budgeted for. Dropping Gable’s six-figure salary in favour of Green’s five-figure salary must have figured into the decision.
Next Up for Hamilton?
The true test of whether Hamilton made the the right deal is their next couple of signings. Most would agree that an offensive lineman or two should be at the top of the shopping list. A skilled defensive back or even a worthwhile backup quarterback wouldn’t be amiss either. Don’t be surprised if you see a couple of these positions picked up in the next couple of weeks, either to start or for insurance.
Yes, the refs absolutely botched the game on Saturday. But the Tiger-Cats are still in playoff contention, and make no mistake – the team is angling for the security of the second-place spot. The Gable trade is a step forward, not a step back.
Embed from Getty Images