Zach Collaros trade only makes the Riders better

There’s one thing you can never accuse the Roughriders’ Chris Jones of being and that’s boring.

Since becoming the man in charge of football for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Jones has rarely sat on his hands and built his roster in a quiet manner. Jones hasn’t been afraid to make a splash and he was at it again when the Riders picked up quarterback Zach Collaros from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a second-round draft choice (a pick the team got from Montreal 13 months ago for Darian Durant).

Generally speaking, trading a Canadian (or in this case, a potential Canadian) for an American is usually frowned upon in the CFL. There is one major exception and that’s when you can pick up a guy who could be your starting quarterback for a number of years to come. Jones did that.

There’s no question that Collaros comes with some pretty big question marks. Since suffering some major injuries, Collaros hasn’t looked like he did leading Hamilton to a Grey Cup appearance in 2014. Collaros followed that up with a torrid start to 2015 that likely would have netted him an MOP award if not for an injury. Why hasn’t Collaros been the same? There’s probably not one specific reason as to why but rather a mixture of team and player.

Collaros’ reported $500,000-plus salary is certainly a concern as well, but assistant vice-president of football operations Jeremy O’Day told reporters that re-negotiations are already underway. There’s probably no reason to believe that some kind of agreement won’t be reached. Collaros doesn’t have a whole lot of leverage right now.

The absolute best case scenario for the green and white is after sitting most of last season and a fresh start, Collaros re-finds his best self and the Riders instantly become contenders in what’s expected to be a very competitive West Division once again.

Even if that’s not the case, Collaros can be a serviceable pivot for the team. If the Riders defence and special teams are as good, if not better, this coming season than they were in 2017, then Collaros won’t have to be Superman for the Riders to have success. Kevin Glenn’s best football came when the Riders were at their worst last season. When the team found its groove, Glenn and Brandon Bridge had their moments but were hardly elite. If anything, offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo’s offence won’t ask Collaros to be “Mr. Everything” but rather just a piece of the puzzle. Make smart reads and let your offensive playmakers make plays. As long as he gets time, Collaros should be able to handle that and likely do it better than any other quarterback currently on the roster.

If all else fails, Collaros will push Bridge to be better in training camp and provide depth behind the Canadian if he takes his game to the next level, which is never a bad thing.

The Riders did give up a decently high draft pick and they do need Canadians, but quarterback is an even greater need. One way or another, they should have one now.

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.
Joel Gasson
Joel Gasson
About Joel Gasson (178 Articles)
Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.

27 Comments on Zach Collaros trade only makes the Riders better

  1. Remember that last year Popp traded a starting Canadian OL to the Riders for an import receiver, Dyakowski for Edwards, so Jones has been on both sides of a Canadian for American swap.

  2. Also, the Riders don’t really need Canadians right now, or at least we don’t need more depth Canadians. Jones’ drafts and other acquisitions have been great and we now have good depth everywhere, assuming we re-sign our FAs. What we do need, however, is for some of the young guys to step up and become good starters, see Bladek and JSJ. It would be nice to see Meredith progress and eventually become a starting RT too.

  3. BigRedMachine // January 8, 2018 at 9:57 am //

    IMHO Collaros wasn’t signed to become the backup behind Bridge. If all else fails and Bridge wins the starting role, Collaros gets traded or cut.

    • I think these days every team needs two good QBs, so I think they’ll both be here all year regardless. Jones in particular loves great depth. I think it will be an open competition at camp too. I think Bridge has earned that.

  4. Scottsask // January 8, 2018 at 10:11 am //

    I don’t think either of those scenarios take place. Even if, and that’s a biiig if, Bridge outright wins the starting job, you still need 2 qbs on your roster, even if one is overpaid.

  5. If Collaros does not sign a revised contract by Feb. 1 and gets cut his only hope is to do a better deal with Montreal. They would probably trade or cut Durant to free up the funds to sign him. Either way it is a gamble on his and his agents part. Montreal needs a QB bad so they are probably hoping he does not come to terms with the Riders.

  6. idiots….Sask has a young, Canadian, 6’5 gunslinger in Bridge who does some extremely unique things….but once again, he’s being overlooked for a 30 year-old guy who set a league record for consecutive losses last year (12?) …a LEAGUE record, in a league that’s over 100 years-old smh

  7. Green Pastures // January 8, 2018 at 11:06 am //

    Nice article Joel. Thanks

  8. Always need Canadian talent. Dyakowski pick up was a good move although he did fade the 2nd half of the season. Drafting has been an issue for this regime. Remember we choose St. John and could have had Singleton. Hopefully St. John works and shows up this year. Does anyone know the scoop on Judge? He sent out about 30 tweeks last year saying he was just smokin’ dope and retired while back home recuperating. Feel free to look it up. Haven’t heard a word since then.

    • Drafting has not been an issue for this regime. Singleton was drafted 6th, which means that 5 teams passed on him. No one bats 1000 in the Canadian draft. I believe there are 7 draft picks from last year’s draft plus 1 supplemental pick still on the team, and 3 from the year before plus 1 supplemental pick, plus Bouka, who we recently released to go the NFL, and who I expect we have a gentleman’s agreement with to come back if he doesn’t make it. By my quick count we have 30 Canadians on our roster who were brought in by Jones and Co. in the last two years, one way or another. So Jones has brought in a HUGE number of Canadians through the draft, FAs, and trades.

      • Appreciate your comments. It is not just the number of Canaduians bit the number of starters. We continue to struggle with 7 bonafide Cdn starters. The best teams like us a few years ago had 8 Cdns starters. Our 2 last first round pick are starting. That’s a problem. Also trading away draft picks is a problem. We have 3 americans starting on the Oline and middling performance. Tbat is a drafting issue. Don’t blamee them for taking a hot on Bouka although I am not optimistic he will ne back but hope you are right.

        • Starters acquired through the draft generally take a while to develop, so our shortage in that area says more about the the last regime’s drafting ability. You can trade for starters, like Dyakowski, Hecht and Edem, or you can sign FAs, like Muamba, Steele, Mrabure, Henry, MAB, LaFrance, or you can draft and develop, like Bladek and JSJ, who will hopefully be ready to start this year. But even if they aren’t it’s not a big problem, because we’ve been able to find so many starters other ways. It would be nice, of course, very nice, but it’s not essential when you have a GM who can find talent in a variety of ways.

        • Just to answer a couple of your questions more directly, our first round draft picks the last two years not starting is not a problem, because you generally would not expect even a first round pick to step in and start immediately. It has happened more in recent years but it’s still not something you’d expect. We’re not struggling with 7 starters. We did very well last year and we were 8-4 over the last 12. Trading away some draft picks is not a problem when you can find so many good players other ways. It’s nice to keep your top pick for a shot at a top tier player, however, and note that we still have our first round pick this year.

        • The CFL has to address the ratio – the Canadian requirement must be REDUCED.
          Teams are struggling to fill the positions with decent Canadians.
          Fewer kids playing football translates to fewer CIS players and fewer to choose from the CFL draft.
          The draft becomes a fight over “O” linemen, start as many Canadian “O” linemen as possible and fill the talent positions with imports.
          Wake UP CFL

          • I agree Zach would do much better at Steubenville High with zero Canadians manning the ‘untalented’ O-line.

  9. To suggest that Collaros doesn’t have much leverage in negotiations might be a bit naive. If the numbers don’t work for Collaros, then Jones will have only two options: pay him his $500,000 plus or cut him. And that slurping sound is the Alouettes salivating, because they are desperate for a QBs and will happily pay him whatever he wants. The next 23 days will be interesting. That said,I’m betting Collaroscaves like that weak-knee Franklin.

    • Depends on how close they are and whether Collaros sees Montreal as that much of an opportunity re-establish himself.

      The Riders look like a better bet to me.

    • Blue Rules // January 8, 2018 at 2:12 pm //

      Handler, to summarize
      Riders dump Durant for the 10 overall draft pick, Rider fans are jubilant. They just rid themselves of washed up QB, got something for nothing

      Then Riders dump the #10th draft pick for an average overvalued often injured QB. Again Rider fans are jubilant. They just rid themselves of a #10 draft pick, who knows if he will ever develop or play for that matter.
      Now, Handler suggest to hardline Zach on his contract or the Riders will just cut him because Zach has no leverage.
      That is laughable!! That is why people make fun of Rider fans. LMFAO

      • I am sure more laugh at the Bombers than the Riders. But heck, you’re obviously a bias bummer fan, so wishful thinking is all you know.

        • Blue Rules // January 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm //

          Ladd, please learn to read, “make fun of Rider fans”
          Thanks for proving my point!!! LMFSO again!!

      • Choke-Levi Mitchell // January 8, 2018 at 4:42 pm //

        We have Bridge. Doubt were gonna pay Zach 500K with his recent record/injuries. If he doesn’t cave, then yeah. Cut or trade him. Maybe You’d pay him 500K to break that 27 year drought? baddum tsss.

      • greenrider89 // January 9, 2018 at 3:51 pm //

        Blue Rules, funny of you to say a biased comment that most Rider fans were jubilant after Durant was traded for a 10th overall pick to the Montreal Alouettes. I was one of several Rider fans that were outraged with Chris Jones. Yes, there were “some” fans that supported the trade of Durant to Montreal. If you really want to look at things, consider how many former Roughriders trekked to Winnipeg when Chris Jones became head coach of the Riders — Weston Dressler, Ryan Smith, Macho Harris — plus other players like Keith Shologan, Drew Willy, Dominic Picard, Sam Hurl, Patrick Neufeld to name a few in prior years. (LOL) Hate to spoil your day, I wonder if Winnipeg ever considered a name change to the Winnipeg Roughriders.

  10. Vinz Clortho // January 8, 2018 at 11:57 am //

    The proof will be whether Zach shits his pants the first time a huge defensive end has a clear shot at wallpapering him to the turf.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like Collaros, especially prior to the ACL and concussion issues, but he has been hesitant at times since, psychological work is needed to get him over the fear of re-injuring that knee or getting his head cracked again.

  11. Vinz

    Hope he isn’t wearing Rider white pants if he sh—s himself – embarrassing

  12. @ sjim;
    Why do you want to reduce the # of Canadians?
    Why are you so mercenary? Don’t you have any patriotism?
    Do you want four downs and a smaller field too?

  13. Change of scenery will do wonders for Collaros and allow the Riders to be more patient with Bridge’s development.

  14. Want to watch the press conference today , anyone know what time it is ?

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