Ricky Williams will earn close to $500,000 this season -- almost twice what originally was reported -- to play his only year of Canadian football.
A bevy of sources confirmed yesterday that Williams' salary is significantly higher than the $240,000 a year mark that has been attributed to the contract he agreed to Sunday with the Argonauts.
The actual value pushes Williams closer to the $585,000 US he would have earned this season with the Miami Dolphins, had he not been suspended for violating the National Football League's substance abuse policy. The new numbers also mean Williams will be compensated similarly to the CFL's highest-paid players, quarterbacks Dave Dickenson in British Columbia and Ricky Ray in Edmonton.
The Argos can afford this kind of deal because the stringent salary cap, agreed to by reluctant CFL governors in the winter, has yet to be implemented for the coming season. In addition, Argo management has quietly estimated that an additional 10,000 tickets sold over the course of the season -- or 1,000 per game -- will more than pay for Williams' expensive contract by CFL standards.
The Argos owners, David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski, have run losses in their first two seasons operating the team and are expected to run a loss this season as well.