Argos officially cut ties with VP Murphy

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The Argonauts made it official late Tuesday when the club released a statement on the release of VP of player personnel John Murphy.


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“Following the organization’s internal review of the post-game incident of Sunday, December 5, the Toronto Argonauts announced today that John Murphy, Vice President of Player Personnel has been terminated effective immediately,” it read.

And so ends Murphy’s time in Toronto, which unofficially came to an end following the team’s gut-wrenching loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Dec. 5 in the East final.

Following the loss, things got ugly three separate incidents, including one featuring Murphy uttering homophobic slurs.

A few days later, the league announced it had suspended Murphy indefinitely.

Then came word the Argos had cut ties, but it wasn’t until Tuesday when everything became official.

Murphy is a polarizing figure in three-down football. He had worked for three previous organizations before he joined the Argos in 2019, when Jim Popp served as club general manger.


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While Michael Clemons held the title of GM in the wake of Popp’s dismissal, it was Murphy who made all the moves, in effect the de facto head of football operations.

He went all in once the CFL decided to have a shortened season in 2021, making bold moves by signing high-priced free agents.

Murphy pushed the envelope when it applied to the league’s salary cap and was ultimately forced to trade quarterback Nick Arbuckle to Edmonton.

Toronto finished first in the East with a 9-5 record, including three regular-season wins against the Ticats.

What moves are next for the Argos are yet to be determined.

The Argos have done a decent job of assembling a roster that won’t be decimated by free agency.

Once the league and its players’ union come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, the Argos will have to find ways to sign a quarterback, acquire a receiver who can make game-changing plays, bring in a rush end who can pressure the backfield, and add bodies along the line of scrimmage.


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The fate of defensive assistant Chris Jones is another unknown. Jones rejoined the club this season, a move many believed was initiated by Murphy. If Jones does leave, the Argos will need to add a defensive co-ordinator.

It’s expected Clemons will take on a more hands-on role, but he might add a veteran CFL front-office type who knows the ropes.

The team’s director of Canadian scouting, Vince Magri, is an emerging presence who should be considered as an assistant GM, while football ops official Alex Russell is said to have been instrumental in keeping the Argos within the cap following Murphy’s wild spending.

In terms of priority, the Argos must first determine if Jones will be back.

The Argos then have to address their management and decide whether to promote from within, or look outside the organization.

Roster-wise, the quarterback position is the crucial area the Argos have to address.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who apologized for his post-game shoving incident with a camerman, is a free agent. He knows head coach Ryan Dinwiddie’s system, but the feeling is the Argos will be active either in the trade market or free agency to add an arm.



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