Ricky Ray and the Toronto Argonauts have reached a deal that will keep the 36-year-old quarterback in double blue for two more seasons.
Ray, a 13-year CFL veteran who has been in Toronto since 2012, was eligible for free agency on Feb. 9, but Argos general manager Jim Barker and Ray’s agent, Chris Gittings, worked out a deal quickly.
While the dollar figure was not released, it’s said to be structured to leave enough cap room to re-sign QB Trevor Harris as well.
The contract is more performance-based than Ray’s last one, with incentives that could keep him among the league’s highest-paid at the position. It’s believed Redblacks QB Henry Burris, the CFL’s top player, and Ray earned between $450,000 and $500,000 last season.
“We kind of restructured his deal to give Toronto some room and keep Ricky there,” Gittings said in an interview. “We just moved some of the money around. He’ll have more in (playing-time incentive bonuses) than what he’s had in the past.”
The deal is also said to give the Argos some protection in case Ray gets hurt or struggles.
“Blessings to Ricky Ray for being willing to do that,” Gittings said. “We tried to do what we could to make it possible (for the Argos to also keep Harris).”
The CFL salary cap for 2015 was $5.05 million. It will increase by $50,000 a year, to $5.2 million by 2018.
Gittings added that Ray “loves the coaches, and he’s excited about the new stadium and new ownership and he wanted to stay.”
Both Barker and head coach Scott Milanovich said after the season that they hoped to see both Ray and Harris back in Toronto colours when they open at BMO Field next season.
Ray, who yielded the starting job to Harris for the first 16 games of the season after a slow recovery from off-season shoulder surgery, will be 38 when the contract expires.
Barker now turns his attention to re-signing Harris.