Quarterback Casey Printers is back in the CFL — with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Printers agreed Thursday to a three-year contract worth $500,000 per season, a deal that includes an option for a fourth year and makes him the highest-paid player in the league.
Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray reportedly makes about $460,000 annually.
"I'm well-compensated," Printers said. "I'm happy and that's the most important thing."
The Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts also expressed interest in Printers, chosen the CFL's most outstanding player in 2004.
But he figured Hamilton was the best fit for him.
"The people here are hard-working," Printers said. "And that's the way I am."
Printers, 26, was released last Saturday by the Kansas City Chiefs and cleared NFL waivers, but opted for the CFL rather than be return to Kansas City's practice roster.
The signing of Printers is a big addition for a Ticats team that sports an anaemic 1-8 record and has scored a league-low 153 points this season.
But don't expect him to be the saviour in Hamilton right away, CFL on CBC analyst Sean Millington told CBCSports.ca.
"If I am Casey Printers, do I want to come back [to the CFL], to a team that is struggling as much as Hamilton? With the huge expectations that would be put on him, it would be a massive risk," Millington said. "It would be a great opportunity to come in and be the hero if the Ticats started winning games, but it would be a blow to his career if they didn't."
No sooner had Hamilton secured Printers than the team reportedly tried to trade veteran pivot Jason Maas to the Montreal Alouettes.
A source told Sportsnet.ca that Maas balked at being swapped for non-import running back Jeff Piercy, so "the trade didn't go through and it's definitely not a done deal."
Printers impressed in B.C.
Printers spent three seasons in B.C.startingin 2003 and was named the CFL's top player the following season, when he threw for 5,088 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Printers also scrambled 82 times for 469 yards and nine touchdowns, but head coach Wally Buono irked him by starting veteran Dave Dickenson in B.C.'s 27-19 loss to the Argonauts in the Grey Cup.
Printers completed 457 of 712 pass attempts for 6,763 yards and 45 touchdowns in 50 CFL games with B.C., and rushed 122 times for 849 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The controversy continued to simmer the following season, prompting Printers to decline a three-year, $1.2 million offer from the Lions and head to the NFL.
Printers signed with Kansas City on Jan. 11, 2006, but failed to impress and spent the entire season on the practice roster.