Reworked deal makes Collaros the heavy favourite to start in Riderville

As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. In this case, the Riders re-negotiated deal with quarterback Zach Collaros suggests that the former Ticat will be handed the keys to the Rider offence when training camp opens this spring.

When the Green and White acquired Collaros, Chris Jones suggested that there would still be an open competition to be the Riders starting quarterback in 2018. If that is truly the case, then giving Collaros $430,000 hard money and $225,000 of it up front (as reported by 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk), says otherwise. That kind of money is (fair) high-end starting quarterback money in the CFL. You don’t give someone that money unless you believe they will be your starting quarterback and they’ll do it at a very high level.

Let’s be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that either, but the move does come with some risk (what deal doesn’t?).

If Collaros is everything the Riders hope he can be, then the money saved compared to the original $500,000-plus deal means that Jones should have some wiggle room to add some depth somewhere else. If Collaros doesn’t return to form and can’t get the job done, then that’s a lot of money tied up in a guy that’s sitting on the bench or not winning you football games.

Considering what’s happened to Collaros over the last couple of seasons, I was surprised to see the money basically be guaranteed (well, as guaranteed as money can be in the CFL). Giving Collaros a bigger signing bonus was to be expected, as it would be the carrot to take less money overall. The fact that he didn’t have to reach certain benchmarks to get all of the rest of his money is simply great work by his agent. It does give Jones some cap certainty as well as he won’t have to save room for some potentially pretty large bonuses.

As for Brandon Bridge, the door isn’t completely slammed shut, but he is facing an uphill battle. It’s now up to him to make Jones make a difficult decision by taking his game to the next level. That starts now, Bridge has to show Jones every single day that there’s another option on the roster. The good news for Bridge is that it does take two quarterbacks to get through a CFL season these days, so his chance in the regular season should come one way or another.

The Riders seem to have their new starting quarterback, but in the end, actions will indeed speak louder than words.

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.
Joel Gasson
Joel Gasson
About Joel Gasson (180 Articles)
Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.

44 Comments on Reworked deal makes Collaros the heavy favourite to start in Riderville

  1. Dick Rubnutz // January 28, 2018 at 7:24 pm //

    If he was plaguing for free he’d be the favorite to start

    • Zack Levi-Wrangler Carter // January 29, 2018 at 10:55 am //

      Chris Jones wants to win. He will play whomever gives him the best chance to do that. There’s nothing else to say.

  2. Bridge has to be the quarterback of the future. In his limited time, he’s shown so much promise and natural ability to make plays. Sure he’s not a pure passer, but give him time. I hope he comes in and blows everyone away at camp and becomes the starter. I don’t think he’s been treated that fairly.

    • Come on Byron. Comes in and blows everyone away at camp? All your seeing is a young QB who has gone into games replacing an older pocket passer and use his legs to extend plays. Unfortunately the extended plays do not resemble anything in the play book. You can get away with that in College but not in the Pros. When Bridge started his only game of the season. The offence could barely muster up enough points to beat a 3rd string QB in Hamilton that nobody even knew.
      Bridge needs a couple more years before he’s ready to challenge for a starting spot. Having Collaros show him the ropes will help Bridge far more than studying under Glen.

      • Masoli was a 3rd string QB no one ever heard of?

        In 2017, he was 2nd string QB up until he became 1st string QB.

        He was also the starter for the first six games of 2106, with three games being against Western teams.

        There’s also his 2016 setting the new CFL record for consecutive completions while bringing the Cats back from about about a 25 point deficit against the Eskimoes.

        But I guess a QB that sets the new record, ironically taking it from the previous holder, the Edmonton HC wasn’t newsworthy.

    • There’s always competition in football, and good players thrive on it. Bridge was never promised the starting job, but he was promised an equal shot at the starting job, and I’m sure he’ll get it. Collaros also said he wasn’t promised the starting job. The good thing about this situation from Bridge’s perspective is that he can learn a lot from Collaros, and he’s still a young guy on an upward trajectory. But I wouldn’t count him out as the potential starter this year either. At this point I couldn’t pick a favourite. They each have different strengths and weaknesses. Collaros has been a top tier QB, and Bridge looks like he has the potential to be top tier. Let the competition begin!

  3. Bridge will get his chance. Collaros is injury prone and unfortunately one good hit will have Collaros riding the bench again.

    • So you’re saying he is another Durant? LOL

      • True green // January 29, 2018 at 2:20 am //

        LOL? What’s hilarious is that you don’t know what you’re talking about.
        2009- 2013, 5 years, played every game.
        2014, played first 10, injured the rest of the season
        2015, injured full season
        2016, played full season up to last game or two
        2017, played 15 straight games
        So after starting his career and playing 100 games, he missed 1.5 seasons. Injury prone? He blew an Achilles in 15 and took a bad/late hit in 14. Neither were because he was prone to anything.
        Do you make completely inaccurate comments like this about everything or just about things you don’t know anything about?

  4. Bridge has been treated “fairly”. He is not a starter even if he thinks he is. It will take another 2 years for him to develop into a starter the rate he is going.

  5. As he should be.

  6. Ivan Diablo // January 28, 2018 at 7:59 pm //

    bridge only signed a 1 yr contract- he might bolt for nfl next season

  7. I dont think they paid him 350,000 to be a back-up

    • Is that the number you are hearing on Bridge seriously 350,000 and paying Collaros 430,000? that is alot of money on your 2 QBs in a salary cap league, not that it matters to the sliders as they dont play by the rules anyway.

  8. I wonder if this makes Collaros the highest paid in terms of guaranteed money?

  9. This article is pretty much a total fail by Gasson. The only question is was he attempting to promote some kind of spin with this, or is he does he just not know what he’s talking about? If this was a Davis article then for sure it would be the former, but I can’t quite tell what camp Gasson is in at this point.

    In any event, what Bridge and Collaros are making this year says absolutely nothing about who will start this year, because they’re both on 1 year contracts. Collaros’ contract is what it took to re-sign him, but as soon as it was signed it became irrelevant for this year because now they’re both playing for next year. If Bridge is playing well and Collaros is struggling we’re not going to keep playing Collaros. We’re going to play Bridge, and then try to sign him to a long term contract, and if that happens Collaros will likely be gone next year. So again, completely opposite to what Gasson said, what each of them is making this year matters not one bit at this point, because starting now the competition is on for next year, and we’re going to try to re-sign whoever is the better player this year.

    Point two, also completely opposite to what Gasson said. The one way that Collaros’ contact will affect us this year is that it pinches our cap space more. I’m guessing that Collaros will be making about $200k more than Glenn did, so we’re going to have to find that money somewhere. To repeat, we now have less wiggle room not more. We’ve re-signed other players to bigger contracts too, so there is going to be a cap casualty or two this year. My money is on Clark and Denis. We want to be very careful with our OL this year of course, but from a cost vs. return standpoint I think those two are still the most likely cap casualties.

    • Ivan Diablo // January 28, 2018 at 9:52 pm //

      i remember the days when argos had hollloway and barnes as QBs and won a grey cup – i think cfl teams do well having 2 qb ready to start/play

      • the sliders dont have 2 qbs only thing they have is 4 back-up QBs

        • The Riders have more depth talent at qb than ANY other team. The jealousy and bitterness of your tone suggests that you know this to be true and you’re lamely trying to hide your feelings with trolling.

    • This is if you believe what they say report about salaries as well. He says Collaros’s salary “as reported by Dunk”. That’s the closest anyone has come to taking ownership for the sources that are giving them this info. It was reported by Dunk because it was created by Dunk.

  10. Scottsask // January 28, 2018 at 9:26 pm //

    I would have to agree RFD.

  11. Collaros was due to make 540k. Not sure why his re-worked deal screams starter given his salary at the time the Riders traded for him was greater.

    Did everyone expect Collaros to cut his salary in half?

  12. A Canadian // January 28, 2018 at 11:35 pm //

    Joel just another wanna be hack writer out of the QC.

  13. And Brandon Bridge will never believe another word from Chris Jones.

  14. Colour me green // January 28, 2018 at 11:48 pm //

    I agree with RFD. Assumptions are not correct to n article.

    They only owe $225k. If Collaros doesn’t play well or Bridges gets the #1 job they don’t pay out the incentive money. So Collaros is signed for a fair price for a veteran guy.

    It will be an open competition come training camp. Whoever wins can make a pile of money in incentives if they play.

    • Interesting // January 29, 2018 at 12:33 am //

      As Collaros’ contract has been reported, there is no incentive money. It is all guaranteed money with $225,000 up front. So it doesn’t matter how good or bad Collaros plays, he still gets paid $430,000. as long as be is on the roster, playing or riding the pine. Bridge has the performance laden contract. That is why it is obvious that Collaros is intended to be the starter.

    • Even if Bridge clearly wins the starting job and starts all year that’s OK, because Collaros’ contract is only for 1 year. The point of signing Collaros was to have good depth and 2 guys who could become top tier starters. Injuries happen. In today’s CFL every team needs two good QBs just in case, but in our case we’re also essentially auditioning for a new #1 going forward. Now we have two guys who could be that guy, the young upstart who looks like he’s emerging as a good #1, and the vet who is coming back from a tough situation in Hamilton. It’s going to be a fun training camp, and a fun season after that!

      • Interesting // January 29, 2018 at 8:17 am //

        The problem with that being that the salary cap doesn’t care if the contract is only for one year. The more Bridge plays, the less wiggle room there is on the cap. If Collaros gets hurt and goes on the six game, it becomes less of a problem because his salary while on that injury list doesn’t count. But it would be difficult to sit Collaros on the bench and pay incentives to Bridge for playing time. No one wants to see Collaros hurt so he will be the starter because of cap concerns unless he really stinks the place out. Can’t pay $430,000 to someone holding the bench down.

    • Not true Collaros got a 225,000 signing bonus the rest of his 430,000 is gaurunteed money plus bonuses on top of that is what I am hearing

  15. Interesting // January 29, 2018 at 12:20 am //

    It is putting a lot of stock in a quarterback that is presently 0 and 12. Apparently, Bridge’s contract is heavily performance laden so the more he plays, the harder it is on the cap. Which definitely leads one to believe that the plan is to have Collaros play as much as possible with his large guaranteed money contract. A lot of speculation is that Collaros’ problem was Hamilton”s porous O line. That makes it difficult to get rid of Derek Dennis with his large contract unless they get Campbell signed. Dennis did not play well at left tackle last year but if they lose both Campbell and Dennis, the Riders have no left tackle at all. So unless they can pick up a left tackle in free agency, they may have to keep Dennis again. They really can’t afford to put Collaros behind a bad O line again and risk having him continue his losing record. The Riders’ O line was far from the best in the league last year so I would expect that improving the O line would be a priority. Signing Campbell is huge but last year, he actually wanted to play down East because he wanted to be with his family so I don’t know where that situation stands but I do know that good blind side tackles are not a dime a dozen. The wiggle room could get tight, especially if Bridge has to start many games. I do agree there will be some cap casualties but without Campbell, that gets complicated.

    • If only the O line is considered a factor in Collaros’ problems in Hamilton, people haven’t been watching.

      It’s been years of a phantom run game.

      Throw in that only one receiver had worked with either QB in 2016 for more than a few games but he was done for the season in game one due to injury.

      Despite these issues, the play calling did nothing to try to throw the opposing defense off or help the offense have a chance.

  16. 225K up front with 205K more to come guaranteed! I’d say that is a sweet deal even if a pay cut was involved. Must be the 1st guaranteed contract ever for a player in the CFL? I thought there was never a FULL GUARANTEED contract prior to the season starting and progressing based on years played by a individual player. Collaros has a good agent. Hope Bridge goes back to Montreal and proves Jim Popp wrong for cutting him.

  17. As JFR stated, there’s no cap savings of any kind with Collaros’s revised contract and as others have pointed out, the Riders have less cap space, unless of course Glenn was paid over $500,000 last year! NOT….Joel….the Riders didn’t have Collaros on their payroll last year so how in hell can you reach the conclusion that they have saved cap space by renegotiating his contract? 2017….Glenn at what $400,000 and Bridge (on an entry level deal no less)…..2018 Collaros at $430,000 and Bridge with a new contract presumably for somewhat more money (plus incentives)… the math…less cap space not more… add in Carters raise of what $50,000 and presumably Jefferson’s new deal which will likely be worth lots more then he was paid last year (whenever Jones gets around to announcing his signing……what’s that about!). So to the point of others…….something has got to give. Like the Argos last year, Sask had high end talent on good but not comparable high end salaries, plus a bunch of very good talent on entry level deals. Good luck with that.

  18. The Riders are putting a lot of stock in a QB who hasn’t won a game for close to a decade in football years.

    It remains to be seen if Collaros isn’t so psychologically damaged given Austin’s abuse by simply refusing to play Masoli versus how he has used 3 QBS IIRC in the same series a few seasons back. Austin used to talk like Chris Jones did last year and say he’d change QBs if needed.

    Chris Jones did it admirably last year and defused any controversy by saying things like “KG is 38′ and doesn’t want him injured and ‘cant run’ like Bridge.

    For Brandon Bridge maybe he should have waited to become an FA (depending on what he got in money) and then tried to grind the Riders.

    But the smartest move for Bridge is to suck it up – as I’m sure he will- and step his game even further than he has last year and be ready as if Zach is damaged goods, he’ll be getting some decent playing time if not starting.

    For Zach’s sake (and I love that guy when he’s on his game) I hope that Jones give Bridge lots of time like last year versus letting the starter get killed.

    The ELEPHANT in the Riders room last year might be why Bridge had to come in so much.

    Was it that Kevin Glenn all of a sudden couldn’t find open Receivers OR more plausibly from my vantage point was that the OL wasn’t able to hold up and the play calling wasn’t giving them any options with Glen at QB versus Bridge who can pass AND run and run more dangerously than most QBs in the CFL?

    Collaros is not one to run like Bridge given his injury situatiion.

    • I doubt Collaros was bothered at all about Mazoli no playing.

      IMO, what would bother him is lack of run game, no receivers in 2017 that had significant playing time in 2016, no or ineffective adjustments to O line and no plays called to help or counter what the opposition defense was doing.

      And from what I recall, at best Austin would use a two QB system, up until Collaros returned for injury. The times I can recall three QBs in the same game (never mind in a single series) was because other QBs were injured, fumbling, throwing INTs or other issues.

  19. I am hoping Jones has a very sound plan to deal with this pending GONG show. It’s my hope that Jones will chuck an ineffective Collaros on the 6 game injury list faster then Collaros can spell (football), Collaros will remain there for the rest of the year ,( as he gets ‘healthy’ I would assume Jones will be working a deal to DUMP Mr. Ineffective to say Montreal if the Freeman situation fails to work there.) Again part of this will be again some sort of Collaros agreeing to rework how he is paid and things like even a suspended or retired list may come into play !!! Any how I am just hopeful that the countdown of days that Collaros has begun with the max at 365// now down to about 340 left. All Albetros will ever be is a footnote in Rider history of REALY BAD decisions regarding players signed by the club. If I am proved wrong and Collaros plays well so be it , there were lots of ,Rider fans that didnt like having “DD” as our QB and still cheered for the club , put me on the list of I will never cheer for or support COllaros even if he becomces a grey cup MVP, just something about the guy that rubs me the wrong way. Hope Bridge gets his shot and is our QB fro years to come .

  20. Sorry just a short post after reading all these comments on guaranteed money for ABLETROS; Jones is a very smart football man, as are Murphy and O’Day. C. Renolds is also quite an intelligent fellow , I just cant see all those men putting their reputations and potentially jobs on the line on a gamble regarding Collaros based on Collaros current injury history and poor play. Its not like they don’t have QB options and are desperate like Montreal ; as I have not seen Collaroses contract and am fairly certain No REPORTER has either I am hopeful that yes they offered Collaros a sizable signing bonus, but the rest of the contract is NOT 100% gaurenteed. Its not like Collaros has a LOT of leverage!!!! based on his recent history he had to know with his contract expiring in Feb, he faced being outright CUT by Hamilton , and potentially lowballed in FA in comparison to what he earned. Something is a bit fishy here I thing or at least I am hoping regarding the reporting of Collaroses contractual salary. Releasing Glenn at about 250-275 k speaks to the signing bonus of Collaros– possibly the Rider brain trusts gamble for bringing Collaros in , the rest I believe is more fliud then is reported. Remember Jones has a number of players on the IR that basically didn’t see the field all year long after ‘injury’; Ivan Brown , Minter and for all extents Owens , so I am sure JOnes has a cap plan , is it s rule stretching one, yeap almost 100% certain , but like a certain coach that has his Pat’s in yet another Super Bowl, Jones is the type of fellow that will take anything possible with in the rules and stretch it tot he max if its an advantage to his team. n Pro sports there are NO awards in management for being MR. NICE guy!!! Good on Jones for finding loopholes lets hope he has on in ALBETROSES case.

  21. Edward Leslie // January 29, 2018 at 9:43 pm //

    Getfit51: I’m a Brandon Bridge fan myself and I hope he becomes a starting quarterback in 2018, but if not, it’s not the end of the world. Maybe he will in 2019. He’s only 25 afterall.
    What I don’t get is your bad feelings for Zach Collaros. Even if he’s the Grey Cup for the Roughriders, you still won’t like him? Wow, you’re a tough person to please!
    Did Collaros just walk by you when you asked for his autograph once or something??

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