Intrigue surrounds Argos' QB depth chart as CFL trade deadline approaches
With five quarterbacks on the depth chart and a trade deadline that kicks in on Oct. 9, the only drama now surrounding the Argonauts involves what off-field activity this two-win franchise has up its sleeve.
It’s hard to identify what the Argos plan on doing in the weeks leading up to the CFL trade deadline.
The talent GM Jim Popp has assembled has not translated into wins with the Argos seemingly well on their way to a second consecutive non-playoff year — a sure-fire sign that changes will be made once the season finale on Nov. 2 is played.
If you recall, the Argos relieved head coach Marc Trestman of his duties last season in the wee hours after they lost their season finale in Ottawa.
One can only imagine what MLSE has in store, other than some immaterial cosmetic moves it has made, such as getting Pinball Clemons more involved.
The Argos do have three quarterbacks on their roster who have started in the CFL and who have won games, each showing enough talent that is sure to draw interest.
Zach Collaros has not taken a snap during the regular season since his Week 2 injury, then trade from Saskatchewan and he may not take one for the Argos other than to throw at practice, which he did once again on Thursday for the third day in a row.
James Franklin will start on Saturday against the visiting Roughriders with McLeod Bethel-Thompson serving as the backup, a rotation the Argos used to begin the season when many around the league were curious to see how a new coaching staff and new players would manage following a four-win season.
Clearly, it hasn’t gone according to what the Argos had envisioned, which is why more than a few jobs will be lost as soon as the off-season arrives.
Collaros is eligible to come off the six-game injured list following Saturday night’s game.
There’s a date in B.C. on Oct. 5 and then the real intrigue begins with the trade deadline just four days after that.
Collaros, Franklin and Bethel-Thompson are all free agents this coming off-season and chances are at least one of them will be dealt away.
As well as QB Dane Evans has played in Hamilton, he remains unproven with more than a few CFLers insisting he has been the beneficiary of the system the Ticats run under offensive coordinator Tommy Condell.
In Montreal, Vernon Adams Jr. has put together an MOP-type season, but there’s no legitimate backup on the Als with any history of sustained play in the CFL.
Ottawa is a mess, but anything is possible even for the Redblacks, who will play the Argos twice at BMO Field in the span of 16 days next month.
Mathematically, the Argos aren’t out of the playoffs, but the reality says otherwise.
Of the team’s final six games, perhaps two are meaningful, beginning with Saturday night’s matchup. The Riders have a chance to secure a playoff berth with a win.
Toronto’s Oct. 18 visit to Montreal may have implications for the Als, who trail Hamilton by six points for first place in the East.
In all likelihood, the Als, it would appear, will play host to the Eastern semifinal against what is shaping up as a Western opponent, on Nov. 10.
“It could be, it couldn’t be,’’ said head coach Corey Chamblin when the notion of showcasing quarterback arms was broached following Thursday’s practice. “I can tell you right now that’s higher than my pay grade.
“Right now, for us, I have two quarterbacks (Franklin and Bethel-Thompson) who are trying to establish themselves as starters in the CFL. And I’m fortunate to have those two guys. The timing (Franklin back as the starter and Collaros soon to be off the six-game) may look that way, but it’s not.”
In a perfect world, the guy the Argos would have under contract for an extended run is Collaros, who has the game, personality and all the qualities one would covet in a quarterback. And he broke into the CFL with the Argos.
But only time will tell if Collaros gets to play for the Argos again or whether he’s lining up for another team with Grey Cup aspirations.