Like The Guys, Not The Price?

Interesting 24 hours it has been here in Toronto on a couple of different fronts. First and foremost, happy Canada Day to those reading this who celebrated.

So, the sense I am getting from those on twitter(media fans and independent journalists) is that with respect to the two free agent signing that the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors made today, the consensus seems to be that there is overall support for the guys who were signed and almost universal disdain for the price paid.

Brian Burke signed Colby Armstrong for a reported three year contract at $3 million per season. Armstrong seems to fit the Burke mold pretty well and no one seems overly against the signing outright. However, when it comes to the actual deal, people generally agree that $3 million a year for “a sandpaper guy” seems hefty.

Bryan Colangelo has also apparently resigned Amir Johnson to a five-year, $34 million dollar contract. Once again, most of the experts seem to like the signing but there are questions about the contract. Bruce Arthur had this to say about Johnson:

Johnson is..”Your basic athletic, long, potential-filled, foul-prone, good kid with a contract that might be completely insane..”

So, where do we stand tonight? Here’s my perspective for the little it’s worth. With the Leafs it’s a work in progress. I don’t want to say cash is irrelevant, but I do think the length of the term is equally important. 3 years for Armstrong seems like a decent length. Is $3m out of whack for a 3rd liner? Probably, however there are no sales in free agency, at least on the first day. Burke can’t afford not to make the playoffs so he doesn’t necessarily have the luxury to gamble on the availability on certain guys in hopes the price comes down.

With the Raptors, I don’t know enough to comment on specifics. He’s a young kid who made $3.9m last year. Given his young age, you knew he was going to make more money not less and the chatter seemed to be that there was some competition for his services. 3.9 to 6.8 (avg) is a hefty raise I do admit. With the Raptors, I’ve decided to reserve all judgment until the Bosh saga ends. I want to see what exactly Colangelo does, what he is left with and how he handles this.

All in all, I will call today interesting. Let’s hope there is more activity in short order…



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