Argos agree to terms with QB James Franklin

The Toronto Argonauts have agreed to terms with quarterback James Franklin on a two-year deal, per sources.

The Argos acquired Franklin in a trade with Edmonton in December, giving them an exclusive negotiating window before the 26-year-old could’ve hit free agency in February. Toronto received a third-round pick in the 2018 CFL draft while sending Canadian offensive lineman Mason Woods the other way.

The move means Toronto has secured one of the league’s up-and-coming stars, a player who could easily step into the No. 1 quarterback spot should veteran Ricky Ray elect to retire. If Ray returns, Franklin gives the Argos quarterback depth and provides legitimate competition with the 38-year-old for the starting job.

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.

Franklin caught the attention of Toronto’s football personnel men when he threw for 335 yards and four touchdowns in a convincing 41-17 Eskimos victory at BMO Field in 2016.

“I know that game left a lasting impression on people that had been with the Argos, [current assistant general manager] Spencer [Zimmerman] and [offensive coordinator] Marcus Brady. But he’s had other games like that I’ve been a part of where he’s done well. You know he’s got the potential to do that every week,” general manager Jim Popp said upon trading for Franklin.

“Everybody has flashes, but you have to look at his whole body of work. This is an outstanding college football player that has spent three years in the CFL and he was in a very good organization with coaching to match, he’s an outstanding young man and he’s got a lot of key elements that you look for.”

Franklin was originally added to the Eskimos 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 Edmonton 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
Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (889 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

38 Comments on Argos agree to terms with QB James Franklin

  1. joe thibodeau // January 4, 2018 at 10:46 am //

    Justin …..How much $$$$$ the man made $55,000 last season …….safe to say he got a raise BUT HOW MUCH?

  2. Feeling Blue // January 4, 2018 at 10:47 am //


  3. Incredible! This guy coulda got $400 plus if he’d waited on free agency. Geez, guess the thought of playing in Montreal turned his stomach!

  4. And once again reality proves Rod Pedersen wrong.

  5. Scottsask // January 4, 2018 at 11:03 am //

    Alright Toronto fans, time to prove your worth. Can we push free agency up a few weeks too and get training camp underway?! Can wait for June.

  6. I thought the NFL might give him an oppurtunty. Well done Argos

  7. i do not understand why everybody thinks this guy is a star. He has only thrown 176 passes in the CFL. Its like some people thinking Johnny Manziel is going to bigger than Anthony Calvillo and he has not played one down in the CFL yet. This is a good signing for Argos, but come on

    • This is a hedged bet for sure, but at least he has SOME CFL experience vs Johnny who has none. That being said, this could be a crazy changing of the guard for QBs league-wide for the next 5-10 years (barring NFL exits or injuries of course).

  8. Hahaha all I can think of are all the Rider fans who insisted Franklin was going to free agency even after the Argos acquired him. What a delusional fanbase.

    • Adam…couldn’t agree with you more. Collaros will remain an enigma till the season is in session!

    • True green // January 4, 2018 at 2:50 pm //

      All 3 of them? More of the comments came from the media and people making assumptions about what Rider fans wanted, as though we have a say on what management does.

  9. Smart move by Jim Popp. Mark Trestman just got a new QB to groom.

    • Interesting. Popp already said if Ray comes back he is the starter. RR news I assume will come in the next few days. Franklin needs to get playing, not sit another season.

  10. Another GREAT MOVE by Jim Popp and company. Found a way to sign the BEST YOUNG backup QB in the CFL who most likely will be the starter and kept him away from the NFL and from being a CFL FA. Everybody in the league could of done the same type trade but as they say NO GUTS NO GLORY. Argos should be in great shape in the QB position like the Stamps are with BO Levi as the best example of what Franklin should turn into as a player.

    • I really don’t want to [email protected] on your post, but… No matter what Franky did as backup, he is far (at this very moment) from being the best backup QB. I really like the potential he has to become a great QB but he still has to bring his “A game” when the light go on. He sure looked good when he did play but to me it all comes down to consistently impressing or at least improving at a high level game after game. I hope he gets a chance to play/start this year and do what we all hope he can. It would be great for fans, team and league but (IMO) best backup in the CFL? The hype was a little much and now he has to back up the hype. I hope he can be productive right from the start but as we have all seen, finishers are not always starters.

      Please forgive the rambling.

      GoBlue !!

  11. ivan Diablo // January 4, 2018 at 12:21 pm //

    i guess that means that bridge won’t be coming to toronto ….. i hope popp signs free agent messam – wilder and messam would be a great backfield

  12. Time will tell // January 4, 2018 at 12:42 pm //

    The love for Franklin in Rider Nation will now turn to hate because they will feel rejected. We have all seen it before.

  13. justforkicks // January 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm //

    I’m a rider fan who never thought or wanted Franklin in Riders. Whether Zack will rebound remains to be seen but I am happy with our QB situation. But then I’m just a fan and I am sure some GM that is posting here will insult me for that.

    • True green // January 4, 2018 at 3:02 pm //

      Agreed 100%, see my previous comments. More posters on here that want to do the thinking and commenting for us actual Rider fans. I don’t understand the obsession from non fans to comment on everything that is and isn’t Riders.

  14. Say what you want about horsie but he is a true blue CFL fan and Stamps solid and passionate fan. He is as devouted to his team as rider fans are.
    Go horse!

  15. STOP! STOP! STOP the presses! Ain’t no such thang as Rider nation. Its “RIDERVILLE” you BUFFOONS! Always has been, always will be “RIDERVILLE”.

  16. Per sources!!! Why doesn’t the media ever wait for the club’s official release?

  17. Oh my goodness……this guy does appear to have potential, but he hasn’t proven $&/# yet…..and he sure as hell won’t buried behind Ray for at least another year if not two. The guy is a fool for not going to free agency….like Zack will be if he doesn’t stick to his guns and not renegotiate forcing Jonesey to cut him or trade him. We all know the Montreal situation has been bad but geez, I’m sure they’d pay $400 to $500 k for either of these guys. Who the hell are their clueless agents?

    And while I’m at it, can anyone explain why Trestman is supposed to be a QB whisperer? He inherited Calvillo in Montreal and Ray in Toronto….no whispering required with either of those two….and they sandwiched Jay Cutler in Chicago whose career Trestman was supposed to re-ignite…..and we all know how that worked out. Good he’d coach….no question, but QB whisperer……don’t think so.

    Lastly, now that the music has stopped, the ALS still don’t have a starting quarterback. They better hope for a miracle because with Mathew Shiltz, they won’t win a game.

  18. Time to rename 3D to the Rider Hatefest … jealousy is the best form of flattery.

  19. Good for Franklin and the Argos. The Argos were Franklin’s 2nd best option but when the Riders traded for Collaros it closed the door on his #1 option, so he wisely took #2. I’m much happier to have Collaros, of course, since he’s already an established veteran leader and top tier QB, but maybe someday Franklin and Jones will be reunited in Saskatchewan. Anything’s possible, just ask Kevin Glenn.

    • RFD is correct. Franklin took his best option and the riders get a very good quarterback in Collaros. The new start may be exactly what he needs to return to his previous play. They also have several young quarterbacks that could turn out to be the next one for the riders. No one knows why horsie acts like he does with a new name, new rant almost every single day. He is clearly both enamoured and petrified of the riders. Sometimes he makes me laugh by his outrageous comments and sometimes he makes me sick to my stomach.

  20. Good signing. The potential is definitely there, and even if he’s not anointed as the starter right away he’s going to work with two of the best in Ray and Trestman.

    Some similarity to how Collaros made his bones before being signed to his first contract by the Ticats, though Franklin’s playing time is a year removed and he didn’t get quite as much as Zach did when he stepped in for Ray.

    For the sake of our Argo fan friends, hopefully this turns out different than the Zach era did in Hamilton.

  21. rogieshan // January 4, 2018 at 7:12 pm //

    Montreal, prepare yourselves for Kevin Glenn:Redux.

  22. So good to see Franklin in double blue, Toronto was his best choice, superior coaching, less distractions.

  23. They obviously see beyond Ricky Ray, in other words life after Ricky Ray

    Popp obviously looking to avoid the same issue of an aging roster he had plaguing in Mtl

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