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.