By The Canadian Press on February 4, 2024.
TORONTO – Boris Bede’s time with the Toronto Argonauts appears to be over.
The veteran kicker took to social media Sunday to bid farewell to Argos fans, saying the club has “decided to go in a different direction.” The move allows Bede, 34, the chance to find another team to sign with ahead of the start of CFL free agency.
Bede was slated to hit the open market Feb. 13. However, the league’s free-agency window – when clubs can talk freely with any pending free agents or their representatives – officially begins at noon ET on Sunday and remains open until noon ET next Sunday.
The six-foot-four, 225-pound Bede had spent three seasons with Toronto (2021-2023). He was dealt to the Argos in 2020 for Canadian kicker Tyler Crapigna but didn’t play that year as the CFL didn’t have a ’20 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bede’s best season with Toronto came last year when he hit 37-of-39 field goals (94.9 per cent) and accumulated 164 points. The Argos finished atop the East Division in all three seasons Bede was with the club, winning the Grey Cup in 2022.
Bede also handled kickoffs and was able to assume punting duties whenever Australian John Haggerty was injured.
“After these years I can only say thank you to the club, city and the fans that have supported me since day 1,” Bede wrote.
Bede’s loss is a big one for Toronto. He made 108-of-127 field goals (85.0 per cent), boasted a 45.5-yard punting average on 139 boots and also handled kickoff duties.
Bede also made 108-of-115 converts with Toronto.
However, despite being French-born and having played his college career at Laval, Bede is an American by CFL standards. And in the six-foot-five, 228-pound Haggerty, a 28-year-old Australian, the Argos have one of the league’s top punters (48.1-yard average) so if the club can employ a Canadian kicker to also kick off, that would certainly help in terms of the team’s ratio.
What’s more, it’s not much of a secret that Toronto has some difficult cap-related decisions to make this offseason. The Argos, who won a league record-tying 16 regular-season games last season, finished 2023 with over 30 free agents, many starters who’re looking for a raise in 2024.
Toronto has signed 10 pending free agents but among those still unsigned are linebacker Adarius Pickett, running back A.J. Ouellette and cornerback Jamal Peters.
The Argos special teams could feature a much different look in 2024 as returner Javon Leake, the league’s top special-teams performer last season, is also slated to hit the open market.
Bede, a native of Toulon, France, began his CFL career with Montreal (2016-2019).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2024.