The Argos won't talk contract terms with the agent for Ricky Williams until they have assurances the Miami Dolphins and the National Football League agree to the suspended running back playing in the Canadian Football League.
Even if that happens, the Argos won't overspend for Williams, who led the NFL in rushing yardage in 2002 but is suspended for the 2006 season for failing the substance abuse policy for the fourth time.
Argos co-owner David Cynamon threw up several cautionary flags yesterday concerning the on-going situation with Williams, whom the team placed on its negotiation list shortly after he lost his suspension appeal last week.
"Before we take the next step, we want absolute confirmation from Miami they have no issues and absolute confirmation from the NFL that they have no issues," Cynamon said. "I don't want to get anyone excited until the players (i.e. Miami and the NFL) on the other side have no issues."
The Dolphins, to whom Williams is under contract for two more years, haven't commented publicly. Williams' agent, Leigh Steinberg, has been dealing with Miami head coach Nick Saban, who has the final say.
"He raised the obvious concerns about injury and wear and tear playing in the CFL," Steinberg said. "I don't want to unduly drag this out of respect to the Argonauts. Understanding the imminency of training camp (May 21), I hope we can come to a conclusion expeditiously."
Cynamon said the financial talks between the Argos and Steinberg have been more philosophical than actual concrete numbers so the agent understands the CFL's financial landscape for paying players.
"He's not going to be our highest-paid player on our team and he's not going to be the lowest," Cynamon said. "We've really got to be disciplined about this."