As trade deadline looms, Junes Jones says Zach Collaros won’t be dealt

Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones says the team will not be trading quarterback Zach Collaros before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. league deadline.

Collaros lost his starting job after the team began the season 0-8 and Jones took over, installing back up Jeremiah Masoli as the No. 1 pivot. The team has gone 4-2 since the change and there’s been speculation that Collaros, who has one year left on the big money contract he signed early last season, would be dealt.

While acknowledging that the final decision rests with vice-president of football operations Kent Austin and general manager Eric Tillman, Jones says the team has already decided to keep Collaros.

“We’ve had that discussion for a long time. Zach’s going to be here,” Jones said. “He’s a good player and he makes us better. You need to have as many quarterbacks as you can.”

The Ticats are currently 4-10 and remain in the hunt for an East Division playoff spot. But a loss to the Calgary Stampeders on Friday night followed by a win by the Ottawa Redblacks later that evening would eliminate Hamilton from post-season contention.

But Jones says the fact that the team still has playoff aspirations isn’t a factor in hanging on to Collaros.

“We talked about it thoroughly even if we weren’t in position [to make the playoffs], Zach is a good player and he needs to be on our team,” Jones said. “He gives us the best chance for the future, too.”

The Ticats declined to make Austin available to the media on Tuesday but the former head coach spoke to a Winnipeg radio station before the team’s win over the Bombers last Friday and addressed the Collaros situation.

“There are certainly quarterbacks that don’t go through troughs in their career – Doug Flutie, Warren Moon – but a lot of quarterbacks do. I certainly did. It’s not that uncommon,” Austin said. “I have a great deal of respect for Zach, I think he’s a great player, he’ll continue to be a great player and will have a great career going forward.”

Austin didn’t want to speculate on Collaros’ future with the club but hinted he could return in 2018.

“Listen, we’re going to do what’s best for the football team for sure,” he said. “But it’s not out of the question that he’ll still be with us.”

Collaros’ contract makes him one of the league’s highest paid players, in excess of $525,000 per season. While the Ticats could ask him to renegotiate the last year of the deal, there have been multiple reports that he is unwilling to do that. Sources say he also has a sizeable roster bonus due next February which would force the Ticats to commit a chunk of the salary cap to the quarterback before training camp in 2018.

The Toronto Argonauts reportedly offered a package of players for Collaros earlier this season but were rebuffed by the Ticats. They are just one of several teams who have quarterback questions going into next season as several players including Ricky Ray, James Franklin, Brandon Bridge and Masoli are set to become free agents.

Hamilton has plenty of questions beyond the future of Collaros, including the fate of Jones, Austin and Tillman. But the interim head coach said he’d be happy to return next season with Collaros as his starter.

“Absolutely. I’ve been more impressed with Zach being in the position that he’s in, carrying himself as a professional,” Jones said. “It would be easy for him to turn negative, be pouting that he’s not playing. He’s not doing that at all, he’s preparing every day. He’s a true pro.”

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1548 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

34 Comments on As trade deadline looms, Junes Jones says Zach Collaros won’t be dealt

  1. Tiger Chick // October 11, 2017 at 8:04 am //

    Zack and Masoli are class acts. They should both stay with the Cats, not only are they talented players but they give back to the community in a huge way. Kudos to both of them for putting up with criticism from the front lines this season. I would much rather see this scenario than Manziel stepping in.

  2. Cant’t agree more with you Tiger Chick.

  3. Seems most of the ti cats problems early in the year seem to stem from Austin as coach and his game planning since Jones stepped in this team has done a 360 and just makes us wonder where this team might have been with Jones at the controles from training camp.i hope they resign Masoli and it will be an interesting training camp with Masoli Zack and Manziel competing. Yes I said Manziel because I think he’s coming .i assume they are gonna sign Jones to an extension and he will be coaching this team next year it would be pretty stupid to find someone new and have to start from scratch . Oh and one last thing looks like the O and D lines have really looked good under Jones so much for people’s theories the the team will not get better untill they replace the line. Same players better results under the new coach. Maybe part of it was the players were sick of playing for Austin.

    • Sea of Dead // October 11, 2017 at 9:08 am //

      Maybe??? More like absolutely … The whole team had enough of Austin knowing his ‘We’re here to make you better’ story line was a bunch of bunk once things headed south.

    • Agree on Austin’s limitations on the players and not being creative.

      I’d have to check on the O line as I thought I had read Jones for the first game changed two O line players then dropped at least one of them off the team so IMO, it does not fit the “same players different results”.

      • Right – Riker Mathews was added to the OL at RT about the time Jones took over although I’m sure he would have been playing regardless of who was coaching. That allowed them to move Washington to LT where he’d played most of the time before coming to the Ticats. Too bad they couldn’t have had this combo from the beginning of (or at least earlier in) the season.

        Not surprised that the Ticats are hanging on to Collaros – too good player to let go when there’s still a chance of playoffs. If Masoli was injured Zach would be a much better option than (rookie) Golson. I’d love to see what Collaros could do with this offense!

        • Not so sure coaching did not matter for the Mathews/Washington combo as it was available about three weeks before the HC change.

          Mathews was signed about a week before Jones was hired with Washington being signed about five days after.

          I like that Collaros has been kept for at least this season but do not expect to see him play anytime soon.

    • We’ve kept the same middle three on the O-line (Revenberg, Filer, Bomben) but at least one of the tackles was being switched pretty much every other game before Jones took the reins of the team (Fulton, Swindle, Holmes, and Eatmon all played).

      Washington joined the team early in August and played RT for a few games. Then he was moved to LT and Mathews started playing RT the week after Labour Day, in Ottawa. Mathews missed the next game due to injury but it has been Washington at left and Mathews on the right ever since.

      The problem was always with the tackles. We were getting beat consistently on both edges. The combo they’ve been deploying for most of the young Jones era seems to have solidified our protection.

      I don’t doubt that Jones’s game planning has also played a big role here though — the larger number of running plays and more frequent deep passes are keeping defenses more honest, and giving the offense more options.

      • Nice wrap-up msd.You have captured the nuts and bolts workings of the Cats perfectly.Masoli has been getting better at the leadership role and showing signs he could be a starter in the league.

  4. Best scenario let all of Collaros, Masoli and Manziel compete for the starting position at training camp and let the best man win. This assumes that Manziel will cut the Ticats some slack in terms of what he will take to come in and get a chance to play. Collaros is a team guy, still think that he will agree to renogiate his contract.

    • Sea of Dead // October 11, 2017 at 9:33 am //

      Can’t see Collaros having a future with the Cats based on his demotion to solitary sideline presence since JJ’s arrival (He may as well leave his helmet in the dressing room rather than wear it all game). I suspect the Cats don’t even want to risk having Collaros re-injured at this point and potentially having to pay him out the balance of his contract for nothing.

      The offers for his services should improve prior to the start of the 2018 season and if the Cats sign Manziel then there’s no way they bring all three to camp. Collaros will only play out his last year as a Cat if Masoli signs elsewhere as a free agent and I suspect that is unlikely.

    • I agree it will be about who wins the starters job at next seasons camp.
      You don’t award the job to the player that finished out the season but to the best performer in camp and in the pre-season.
      The Ticats could let Masoli go and keep Collaros if he returns to his old form.

  5. How long is Masoli signed for ?

  6. They should trade him and get something now instead of simply losing him in free agency in 2018

    • The TSN contract extension article says Collaros signed “through” the 2018 season so FA seems to be 2019.

  7. Masoli has shown tremendous dedication and unselfishness in his five years here and deserves a good contract renewal. The guys see his work ethic and leadership and respect him. That’s value you can’t buy. I don’t think a guy like Manziel would bring that (from what I’ve read), and he would be a big cap hit.

    I agree that we should keep both Jeremiah and Zach into next season, and the supporting group, so Jones can maintain the momentum he has built since he became head coach.

    Just think if we could extrapolate his 4-2 record across the entire season – we’d be 9-5 and cruising into first place.

    And oh yes, we’ve got to sign Jones to a 2-year deal and keep the coaches – hope they will want to stay!

    • Sea of Dead // October 11, 2017 at 12:25 pm //

      Extending JJ for 2 years based on a small sample of games would be ridiculous. The Caretaker has already blown a wad on Austin, his buddy Mitchell, and likely Tillman. If the Cats continue to play well, I would extend JJ for another season and see how things go over a FULL season before offering him a longer term deal.

  8. Trading Collaros now makes no sense. Offer Manziei a deal to keep his rights & you have 2 great trade assets. I’d like to see Collaros stay but a big roster bonus on top of his salary works against him. Chris Jones’ love affair with washed up ex-NFL’er’s makes him an obvious trade partner for Manziel. Collaros has said he wants to stay in the East & Argos have shown interest. It would be a mistake trading him there. Not sure which way TiCats go but can’t keep both.

  9. RalphInTheCreek // October 11, 2017 at 11:36 am //

    I’m with the coach 101% keep Big Zach attack.

  10. My take on this. 1. The reason they can keep Collaro’s big contract is Manziel wants to sign for the minimum for PR reasons. To show he values Football first and just wants to play. He is already worth more than the highest paid NFL player in Oil stock and income. Family are rich oil tycoons. 2. Masoli though will want a lot more so Ti-cats will let him go. Competition will be between Zach, Evans, Golson and Manziel. June Jones is not beholden to anyone at 64 and already an accomplished Coach so he will just pick the best one by performance in his system. IF Collaros is a highly paid mentor to Manziel and Evans then so be it.

  11. If Zach is such an asset for the Future. Why is he on the bench ? No Offense to Masoli he’s a good qb. Change was definitely was needed. But i think the way that Jones prepares a team for a game made all of the difference in his first game played. When they won the team this just reinforced that. And now the team totally trust Jones. If Zach played in that first game. I truly believe the Ticats would have won also. Maybe that’s all that Zach needed. Maybe that’s all that the team needed. Having Zach as your #1 and Masoli as your # 2 what an amazing combination. They should both be used equally like they did in previous years with other qb’s and look where they ended up

    • ‘Cause Jones figured Masoli is a better fit. He seems to also think Collaros is a better choice as backup compared to a rookie QB.

      What previous years did they go with equal time for two QBs?

      In the Austin era, I can recall LeFevour getting short yardage plus limited packages but definitely not equal playing time.

  12. How can we not re-sign Masoli after the run he’s had. Zach is a question mark…could be great again or could be a bust. He’s definitely lost his confidence and his scrambling ability. Although it would be nice to see him rolling out of the pocket rather than just dropping back to be a lame duck in the pocket. Would be nice if he did renegotiate his contract so we could keep them both, but that’s unlikely to happen. I think if we are eliminated from the playoffs, then we should start Zac the following game.

  13. The cavieat to the whole thing is does Masoli leave for big money in free agency and become a starter elsewhere. That leaves us w Zach and no one really. Other scenario is Manziel signs and competes w Zach. The only way I foresee Masoli staying is if Zach goes. Financially, I don’t see it possible to have all 3 the way the offseason lines up.

  14. The Iceman // October 11, 2017 at 3:43 pm //

    Fact…..Both Masoli and Collaros will not be Ticat team mates next season.
    Masoli a FA will want a starting job and a raise. Cats already on the hook for $500K+ for Collaros.
    No team can have 2 QBs taking up that much salary.
    Cats also will speak the good word that they would like both QBs back to not back themselves into a corner and have lower trade demands from other teams for Collaros.

  15. Peter Griffin // October 11, 2017 at 4:24 pm //

    IF AND WHEN the Cats are eliminated from the playoffs, it would be helpful to start Zack for the remaining games this year, and see what he can do with the new system. He has been at practice like the other players all these weeks, and I’m sure he now understands how it works -just like Masoli does. Then and only then can both of them be assessed/compared by their coaches.

  16. 2018 compensation: Masoli 450K, Collaros 50K, Manziel 25K… all 3 for less than what Zach was expecting to make next season. Take it or leave it Zach… or back to Steubenville.

  17. There is absolutely no way the Cats can afford Collaros and Manziel together, let alone Masoli that is just some wild fantasy.

    • I get not being able to afford Collaros and FA Masoli but don’t see why Manziel would have leverage to command a huge salary as a CFL rookie.

  18. Collaros wasn’t going to be traded because nobody was willing to rent him for a weeks as there is no way a team would pay him 525k next year.

    Ti-Cats are now crossing their fingers that a trading partner can be had by February and/or Collaros is willing to renegotiate his contract. If neither happens, Collaros will be released. Ti-Cats are not going to pay his hefty off-season bonus unless they are 100% convinced in the off-season that he will be the 2018 starting quarterback.

  19. Totally agree with keeping Collaros around. He needs an opportunity to show what he can do in this revamped offense, and keeping him provides more options for the team’s decision-making in the off-season.

    Masoli deserves a big raise too though. And there’s the Manziel thing. And it all has to fit under the SMS cap. So decisions won’t be easy, but better to do them with more time and better perspective, even if that means cutting Zach before his bonus is due, or taking the hit of the bonus and then trading him for picks & players to a team willing to take on the base salary, or releasing him outright before that bonus is due.

    Decisions made rashly without full information rarely turn out for the best.

    • Sorry, I hit the post comment before thorough review of what I wrote. A minor example of a rushed decision. 😉

      I meant to end the second paragraph with “or releasing him outright after the bonus is paid.” That is to say, before or during camp when more of the roster picture is fleshed out.

  20. The only trade that you could accept for Collaros is to obtain in exchange either Trevor Harris or Mike Reilly.Like the switch made with Kevin Glenn and Henry Burris.Next season, the stock value of Quarterbacks will rise dramaticly as skilled experts come closer to retirement.

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