By landing Harris, Redblacks snag quarterback of the future

In the CFL your team is only as good as your quarterbacks, and nobody knows that better than Ottawa Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins.

That’s why once free agency opened noon today, he wasted no time in luring Trevor Harris from Toronto to Ottawa. The deal, a reported two year contract that will pay a rumoured $400,000 in its second year, finally gives the Redblacks a clear succession plan at QB.

Last season was Harris’ first as a full-time starter, as he steered the Argo’s ship while Ricky Ray spent most of the season recovering from an injured shoulder.

Harris filled in admirably in Ray’s absence, piling up 4354 yards and 33 touchdowns to 19 interceptions. In fact, for a good portion of the season he looked like an MOP candidate, as R-Nation can attest to, when they watched him light up the Redblacks at TD Place with a stellar 5 touchdown performance.

While it is true that Harris stumbled down the stretch, it’s fair to wonder how much of it was regression versus how much it had to do with a healthy Ricky Ray breathing down his neck and the fear that any mistake would land him back on the bench, which is exactly what wound up happening.

The addition of Harris to the Redblacks roster gives the team a much needed insurance policy should reigning CFL MOP Henry Burris get hurt. Let’s not forget, last season’s magical playoff run was almost stopped before it started with a low Simoni Lawrence hit to Burris’ knee.

The reality is, the Redblacks have been extremely lucky that Burris has managed to stay healthy the past two seasons while other QBs around the CFL dropped like flies. There’s no way the Redblacks were making the playoffs with Thomas DeMarco, Danny O’Brien or Brock Jensen behind centre.

Harris’ signing also shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the Redblacks are unsatisfied with Burris’ play or that they think Father Time has caught up with him. In fact, with the way the deal is structured, it seems like Burris will get to head into one last season as Ottawa’s starter.

Despite the fact that he’ll be 41 by the time training camp opens, Burris has earned that right, as he’s coming off career highs in nearly every statistical category and led his team to within 3 minutes of a Grey Cup win.

FBO CFL Grey Cup 20151129 TOPIX

What does remain to be seen however, is how Burris reacts to having his replacement in the wings and for the first time, real competition at Redblacks’ training camp. Going off past history, Burris hasn’t always embraced that kind of thing, just look at how things ended in Calgary with Drew Tate and in Hamilton with Dan LeFevour.

One way this signing really works is if Burris and Harris develop a healthy relationship, competing against each other and making themselves better. A lot will be riding on how Burris handles the situation, because if Twitter is anything to go by, Harris seemingly has no problem biding his time in Ottawa.

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In a perfect world, Burris has a strong season, plays out the last year of his contract and then retires, allowing him to focus on the fantastic community work he does in Ottawa and letting Harris step into the starter’s role.

Santino Filoso

Santino Filoso

Born and raised in the 613, Santino has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know.)
Santino Filoso
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Santino Filoso
About Santino Filoso (160 Articles)
Born and raised in the 613, Santino has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know.)

8 Comments on By landing Harris, Redblacks snag quarterback of the future

  1. Pappa Jao // February 9, 2016 at 2:29 pm //

    Great gonna be a great season for Redblack fans.

  2. Keith Robbins // February 9, 2016 at 2:52 pm //

    Check out the video that was played a thousand times Santino. It was a clean hit to the hip and nowhere near his knee. Burris will not like this and will be looking for a trade somewhere. He does not like competition; wants to be undisputed. This is why he ended up in Ottawa in the first place…let the drama begin!

    • Could add that the injury to Hank was NOT the result of the hit by Lawrence but came from a late low hit by a Winnipeg player (forget who it was now) the week before. Hank didn’t seem to have ANY problem with the hit that caused the injury. Looks like Hank will be given his walking papers after 2016 because no team is going to pay two QB 400k each! I agree – that may not sit well with him.

      • Could also add that a helmet to helmet hit on hamilton’s QB knocked him out for the season. It was in the same game. the Ottawa player was flagged, Lawrence was not.
        Hank’s whining elevated a clean play to more than it was.

        • Robin (from THE city) // February 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm //

          Because Lawrence’s hit was ruled to be legal. That FACT was made clear, even by the head of officiating.

          Whining over it doesn’t make it any less legal.

  3. Ha good one Santino put the bait out and the fish will come. Henry will be fine, he is starting to set himself up for life after football and knows that his playing days are coming to an end.

    • Robin (from THE city) // February 11, 2016 at 1:08 pm //

      But, not any sooner that HE wants it.

      And you will soon find out just how HE wants it.

  4. Robin (from THE city) // February 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm //

    This happened in Calgary, then Hamilton and Henry Burris in each case got disgruntled and badmouthed his former employers.

    Harris now signs in Ottawa.

    Here comes mad Henry…..

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