Seeing Zach Collaros in green is going to take a little getting used to.
But it is the reality now that the former face of the Ticats is now a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders after the two teams completed a trade that saw Collaros dealt to Regina for the No. 10 overall pick in this May’s draft.
The knee-jerk reaction is to declare a winner, and while I think the Riders obviously got the best player — no offense to whomever the Ticats take at No. 10 overall, but he will not be as good a player as Zach Collaros — we can’t sit here in January and say that one team definitely won the trade.
Both teams got something; the Riders may have acquired the player that will finally stabilize their quarterbacking position for the next seven or so years, while the Ticats got another high draft pick and shed themselves of Collaros’ albatross of a contract.
Hamilton can now use the savings they get from lopping over $500,000 off their salary cap to sign some other players. And it is no coincidence that the team announced the re-signings of two big off-season priorities, quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and receiver Brandon Banks.
The Ticats also have some incredible draft capital, as they will pick second, tenth, eleventh and fifteenth in what many consider a fairly deep draft. Hamilton has the ability to upgrade its talent by having money to spend and by having so many high draft picks.
This also helps clarify Hamilton’s quarterbacking hierarchy. This is now Masoli’s team, and after the way he played in his 10 starts last year, it should be.
Jeremiah Masoli was playing at an elite level last year and the stats show it. His 3:1 TD-to-INT ratio (15 TD passes, five INTs) ranks among the league’s top passers (only Matt Nichols had a better ratio) and his 1.3 percent interception percentage was tops in the league. Those are the numbers of a guy who can start in this league and be successful. Period. No other qualifiers needed.
Masoli is not the player he was four years ago. He has evolved into an efficient, productive quarterback and one that has earned the right to start through his play on the field.
But that doesn’t mean Zach Collaros shouldn’t get a chance to prove he still has it as well, and this is where the Riders make out fairly well.
While the 10th overall pick is not nothing, it also isn’t all that much to give up to acquire a player that not that long ago was considered the best in the game. In 2015, before the knee injury, Zach Collaros was on his way to being a runaway MOP and probably getting the Ticats their elusive 15th Grey Cup title. He was shredding the league, and if the Riders get that player, no price was too high. Obviously, we don’t know if Collaros can be that player again, but if he approaches anything even close that, the Riders made out like bandits.
This deal also allows Collaros a chance for a fresh start. It is clear from his own words that he wanted to spend the rest of his career in Hamilton, but going to a new team, and one that could quite honestly compete for a Grey Cup this upcoming season, could be just what he needs to get his groove back.
This seems to be the rare deal where everybody got exactly what they needed.