James Franklin getting attention from NFL teams

Prized pending free agent quarterback James Franklin is receiving attention from NFL teams.

Sources say there are at least a couple that would like to work him out. Some details need to be figured out around those workouts but NFL teams want to take a look at Franklin.

A few CFL teams inquired about trading for Franklin throughout 2017.

Over three seasons in Edmonton, Franklin completed 116-of-176 passes (66 completion rate) for 1,449 yards and 12 touchdowns against one interception. He’s carried the ball 18 times for 145 yards and one touchdown. The 26-year-old’s last start came in 2016 when he lit up Toronto connecting on 18-of-23 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-17 Eskimos victory.

If NFL options become exhausted with no deal then as one CFL source put it: “He’s going to be the big fish in free agency.”

Franklin was originally added to the green and gold’s negotiation list while playing at the University of Missouri in the SEC. He was off for a little while when attending Detriot Lions training camp in 2014, but after sparse use the Eskimos readded him suspecting he could be let go and indeed that was the case. Then Franklin signed with Edmonton in April 2015.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
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Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (586 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

31 Comments on James Franklin getting attention from NFL teams

  1. Has played in 3 games (starts ) 2 in 2015- 1 in 2016.no starts 2017- Yes lions t,camp 2014 cut aug 25.
    Long Shot -undersize- For NFL- does not have any rare abilities as Qb.Work out.?? Agent B.S,,

    • Undersized? Where do you get this stuff? Taller than Wilson and Brees, and the same height as Dalton, Prescott, Rodgers, Bridgewater, Garropolo. He may not be a prototypical NFL quaterback but has had the benefit of three years of learning from Reilly and Maas. Not surprised that he’s getting a look and he’s unproven … but he’s not “undersized”.

  2. Edward Leslie // December 2, 2017 at 1:28 pm //

    Atlantic Schooners starter on opening day 2020. He will need to be Brandon Bridge’s backup in Saskatchewan until then. He’ll get a lot more playing time than behind Reilly though.

    • It is not logical for the “big fish” in free agency to sign as a backup to somebody who is unproven. Some CFL team is going to give Franklin starter money this off-season leaving no doubt that he is the team’s #1 QB.

      • Lancaster/Reed // December 2, 2017 at 2:02 pm //

        Wewert3 , That does seem like the likeliest outcome. It may depend on how strong his nfl aspirations are, and for how long of a time frame he is willing to take his shot. Does he hang tough with trying to get nfl tryouts, and miss out on the initial free agency rush, or just do one or two tryouts and if they dont work out, sign in the cfl once free agency hits?

    • Lancaster/Reed // December 2, 2017 at 2:23 pm //

      2020? That might be a little rushed considering there isnt even serious discussions on a new stadium at this point.

    • greenenvy? // December 2, 2017 at 2:39 pm //

      Where do you get this from? Franklin isn’t going to sign with Riders to back up. On top of Bridge & Franklin have thrown about the same # of passes, both with 12 TD’s. But Bridge has 5 INT’s, Franklin 1 & if you check out Derek Taylor’s assessment of how overrated Bridge is & count passes that were thrown at defenders & should have been intercepted, Bridge is awful, by far the worst in the league. In college Franklin was MVP in one Bowl game & won the Cotton Bowl. Bridge had a 50 % completion average & an unremarkable college career. There is a big difference between the “scramble under pressure” Bridge & the “poised in the pocket” Franklin. That’s why CFL insiders are already saying he may be the top player, not just QB, this free agent period. Bridge ranks well down the list.

      • Lancaster/Reed // December 2, 2017 at 2:51 pm //

        I think bridge, ( aside from franklin ) is one of , if not the best young backup qbs in the league. He is better than buckley, thats for sure.

        • greenonions // December 2, 2017 at 3:48 pm //

          That’s the key, Lancaster, backup. I don’t know if you checked out Taylor’s take on Bridge (video on TSN) but the stats are awful. Taylor mentions how overrated he is in Regina & Taylor is a guy who likes the Riders (his wife works in Saskatoon). This was his 1st year starting. Last year was Jennings 1st real year starting & he was up there with Reilly & BLM in most people’s eyes. Jennings is a much better passer than Bridge, as good a scrambler & look at what happened this year. The Lions were considered by most to be challenging for 1st with the Stamps & by many experts to be the Grey Cup favourites. Bridge is far less polished than Jennings. I’d take Jennings any day over Bridge.

          • Lancaster/Reed // December 2, 2017 at 4:20 pm //

            Bridge was the backup all year, not the starter, except one or two games when glenn was hurt. Cant really compare the situation to jennings since glenn was taking the majority of snaps with the first team at practice all year. And jennings looked horrible this year, much worse than bridge ever did. Jennings Sophmore jinx? Or his true abilities? Time will tell.

    • greenonions // December 2, 2017 at 2:59 pm //

      He’d get a lot more playing time behind Reilly? A. Reilly has missed 1 game the past 2 seasons – he sat out game 18 in 2016 along with a bunch of other guys who were rested for the playoffs. B. I guess you are assuming that Bridge is so good, whomever the backup is will have a hard time getting into the lineup. Not likely Reilly’s backup is playing more than Bridge’s.

    • Back up?
      Lol he’s a starter

    • Billinburlington // December 3, 2017 at 1:16 pm //

      While I hope that comes true, 2020 seems highly optimistic.

    • Seriously? do you actually think that Halifax could support a CFL team? For a start there is no way the city would fund a 24k stadium for a sport that only plays NINE games !!
      Look what little support Toronto has in that city, winning a Grey Cup will not increase their attendance.
      Keep dreaming.
      There is a good chance we will be back to 8 teams by 2020, which would not be a bad thing.

    • theonlydispassionateriderfan // December 4, 2017 at 10:55 am //

      Behind Bridge? You have that backwards. Franklin is more polished and ready to be an every day starter than Brandon “I only throw into coverage” Bridge is.

  3. Lancaster/Reed // December 2, 2017 at 2:10 pm //

    Does anyone know if a team actually has to release a player in franklins situation before they are allowed to go to nfl tryouts, or can they do the tryouts while still under contract? I would think they would have to release the player since i have seen players released early in the last year of a contract to tryout for the nfl . But if edmonton releases him early for tryouts, then they lose the opportunity to trade for his rights, wouldnt they?

    • No, the Esks just have to grant permission, which they have done numerous times in the past. Did it with Aaron Grymes, Dex McCoil, Willie Jefferson, Derel Walker, etc. It is in the Esks best interest to play nice. If the player comes back to the CFL and there is still a fit at least there isn’t ill will.

  4. sixbeamers // December 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm //

    Franklin played college ball at a big-time program (Missouri) and had an exceptional sophomore season. Injury-marred junior and senior years affected his NFL draft status.
    Despite his lack of CFL playing experience, it’s whether or not he has the tools to catch on down south. The spotty playing record in Edmonton really doesn’t matter.
    I can see the NFL’s interest based on Franklin’s promise as a college QB.
    And what the heck: It only requires the cost of a plane ticket and a hotel night to check him out.

    • Fully agree. The college stats mean a lot. Is Bridge getting interest? The NFL puts a lot of emphasis on big college play, the combine & the draft. A good example is Brandon Zylstra. He is getting tryouts but comes from a Division III program. He’ll have a tough time catching on past training camp. He won’t get the reps, especially with the 1st stringer QB, & if a drafted player shows up from another camp, he’s likely pushed down the chart. Happened last year with Walker. If you’re not with a Division I program it’s like a junior player making it in the CFL vs a big University program. Franklin led Missouri to a win over the Longhorns for the 1st time since 1997, comeback wins over the Texas Aggies & Kansas & then was MVP in their 41-24 victory over North Carolina in the Independence Bowl. If you want to compare him to Bridge, Franklin is a much more complete QB & has been called by NFL scouts a “pure passer”. Potential? Bridge isn’t in the conversation with Franklin. Sorry Regina but if Bridge is your starter now that there’s a book on him, best of luck. You’re going to need it.

      • Franklin did have a cup of coffee with the Detroit Lions, but didn’t see much action. My hope is he would get a legit look with someone like the Cardinals. Bruce Arians would be a great fit and with all the aging QB’s on their roster he could get a legit chance to play.

  5. I hope Montreal signs him, we need more parity in the East division

    • Or maybe more parity in the WEst?
      The East has won the Grey Cup two years in a row and that is the most important stat

  6. Wishing James all the success in the world with any NFL opportunity. James Franklin should get a futures contract with an NFL team and get a bit of a shot to be on an NFL practice roster or even a QB3 somewhere. The CFL will have to wait until Labour Day to sign Franklin.

    Meanwhile, J.T. Barrett’s up and down play for Ohio has almost assured he will be coming to the Edmonton Eskimos next season to compete for QB3.

  7. Any number of NFL teams should and will give him a tryout. Supposedly Warren Moon at Franklins request is giving him guidance on potential tryouts etc. He has nothing to lose and a lot to gain by going to NFL tryouts. I think he will be signed by a NFL team but if not he can name his ticket in the CFL. When he played overall he was LIGHTS OUT when given he had the chance to play.

  8. Franklin will follow Hervey to the Left Coast

  9. riderontheisland // December 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm //

    unless he wants to carry a clipboard for the rest of his career, but who knows. He hasn’t done near enough to shine that the NFL will take a chance unless he is PR or at best works into a 3rd string situation.

    • You mean like Ricky Ray did with the New York Jets?

      • riderontheisland // December 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm //

        Yes and Ray had even won a Grey Cup where as Franklin hasn’t. Great potential, but NFL don’t sign CFLers who haven’t even started.

        • Are you seriously saying James Franklin was not a part of the 2015 Grey Cup team? Afterall he only threw for 973 yards, 6 TD’s and 1 Int in relief Reilly and Nichols in that year. So ya he won a Grey Cup with the rest of the Eskimos in the ultimate team sport.

          He already went to camp with Detroit before the CFL, why wouldn’t get another look at a camp down south with say a team like Arizona who has a 37-year-old starter, a 33-year-old backup, and a useless QB4?

          Pray to the football gods all you want Rider fan, Franklin is not going to sign with the Riders. This nonsense that he likes Chris Jones, when it was Jones that held Franklin back behind Nichols. If Hervey doesn’t force the issue by trading Nichols Franklin gets no starts and even less reps.

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