TORONTO — Toronto Argonauts GM Jim Barker was all business on a day where he very well could have been celebrating.
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Just three hours after the Argos announced a three-year extension for their General Manager, Barker presented himself in front of the Toronto media to talk about the future of his club as they prepare for the 2013 free agency period.
Barker has been busy since his team earned a 35-22 victory in the 100th Grey Cup last November, retaining key free agents like Joe Eppele and Spencer Watt, while also bringing in new talent such as veteran receiver Romby Bryant.
However, Barker still has plenty of work to get through before the clock strikes Noon ET Friday, as running back Chad Kackert, rush end Ricky Foley and defensive back Evan McCollough are all slated to become free agents.
Despite the lengthy to-do list Barker insists he isn’t sweating just yet.
“We’re in touch with both of them,” said Barker Thursday morning of Kackert and Foley.
“My job is to make sure this club is taken care of and that’s my focus. Players can do what they need to do, my job is to keep this club moving forward and that’s what we’re going to do,” he added.
Those expecting Barker to make a major splash in this year’s free agency pool shouldn’t hold their collective breath for very long.
Barker has been long known to add a few players to support his core group of players via free agency, but isn’t generally interested in adding one single individual that will make or break his team’s success alone.
“Free agency is about adding a piece here and there, you’re never going to build your team with free agents, he said.
“There are some pieces there that we’ll look at obviously, but to know what’s going to happen right now is hard to tell.”
One of the more interesting moves made concerning the Boatmen this off-season was the release of backup QB Jarious Jackson, who then proceeded to sign a one-day contract with the BC Lions and then retire to become BC’s QBs coach.
With Jackson’s departure, the Argos now have 24-year-old Zach Collaros and 26-year-old Trevor Harris backing up Ricky Ray under centre.
Despite the inexperience in his backups, Barker isn’t prepared to sign a free agent pivot, stating he has full confidence in his young quarterbacks.
“At this point, we’re not interested in an older backup. Jarious Jackson was here and he has a great opportunity now coaching in BC,” began Barker.
“We think (Trevor Harris) and (Zack Collaros) are two young guys with great upside and there comes a point where they have to get an opportunity. At this point, they are going to get an opportunity and we’re going to go out and find some guys to challenge them,” he added.
On the defensive side of the ball, Barker admits that there isn’t a specific area where he believes his club needs improvement, which is why he isn’t prepared to go out and find someone on the free agent market.
“There are some guys out there, but to say there’s one guy that’s going to fill a need…I don’t that’s accurate.”
To see what else Barker might have in store tomorrow click here.