Riders sign former Michigan and NFL QB Devin Gardiner

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed quarterback Devin Gardiner, per sources.

Riders head coach and general manager Chris Jones said the team would be adding a quarterback after placing Zach Collaros on the six-game injured list with a concussion. Gardiner joins Brandon Bridge and David Watford on Saskatchewan’s roster at the pivot position.

Back in 2016, Gardiner attended Calgary Stampeders mini-camp as a receiver, however, he did not make it to main training camp.

The 26-year-old was the 2016 rookie of the year in the Japan X-League after throwing for 1,746 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions plus 397 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground while playing for the Nojima Sagamihara Rise.

Gardiner went unselected in the 2015 NFL Draft, although he signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Patriots only to be released shortly after mini-camp with New England taking a look at him as a receiver. The Steelers claimed Gardiner off waivers and brought him to training camp in 2015 where he went back and forth between quarterback and receiver, but he did not make Pittsburgh’s roster.

Gardiner played for the University of Michigan (2010-2014) throwing for 6,336 yards (60.4 completion rate), 44 touchdowns and 32 interceptions while rushing for 916 yards and 24 touchdowns and spent time at receiver for the Wolverines in 2012 (16 receptions for 266 yards and four touchdowns). He was the No. 1 rated dual-threat quarterback coming out of Inkster High School in Detroit.

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 (936 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

76 Comments on Riders sign former Michigan and NFL QB Devin Gardiner

  1. This is a coup.
    Wow, Jones has stolen the next “IT” in the CFL from under everyone’s noses. Now everyone will be looking at Japan’s X league.

    To quote Frank Sinatra:
    If I can make it there, I can take it anywhere!

    • ricferd28 // June 27, 2018 at 4:35 pm //

      Americans are often recruited to play for X League teams, with a strict rule of four per team. No more than two foreign players per team are allowed on the field of play at a time.

      • The only differences between X League and CFL is the number of American imports allowed. (and 4 down football). Reduce the CFL import allotment from 21 down to 4 and the calibre of play would be about the same.

        • Please do not humiliate yourself by making any more ridiculous comments like that.

          Implying the Japanese Football League is superior to the CFL is the most asinine comment I’ve ever read.

          I’m cringing at how embarrassingly dumb your statement was, my friend. Do yourself a favour and STFU.

          • I know right? How asinine can a person BE?! I am also cringing because like A51, I am clearly superior in social status, intelligence, pay grade, and height to all of you. (behind a keyboard anyway) – When I go home to my 1 bedroom apartment overlooking an overgrown basketball court because that’s all I can afford as all my money is tied up in car and Starbucks payments, I get on 3D and open the old thesaurus… And between McDonalds and insurance, I make a clean 64,000/year, and I am TECHNICALLY 5’4″. Life’s not great, but its OK. When I can come on here and let everyone know how ASININE they are, it makes me feel tall.

        • rider fan // June 29, 2018 at 11:46 am //

          hey people everyone is untitled to there option. state your dont berate the others persons.

    • hes gonna be a joke like every other qb that goes through sask.

      • Pointing out the pukes // June 28, 2018 at 2:38 pm //

        Hey Ryan, the only Joke around is you. Your a twerp with a Big Mouth. Ron Lancaster, Kent Austin & Tom Burgess, Kerry Joseph, Darian Durant were all great QB’s that won Grey Cups. So if they were a joke. Just imagine the dork playing for your team you little puke.

    • TruBlu58 // June 28, 2018 at 7:31 am //

      Jesus couldn’t win with the Greenies O-Line. If it weren’t for home field advantage this week against the Als, I’d consider this week’s game a saw off.

      • Sir Gallahan of the Prairies // June 28, 2018 at 2:34 pm //

        Your a true azz TruBoob. Just wait until your Bombers have a bad game. Its coming Pal. In fact Hamilton might just tune your team in this week.
        Also, People are going to pound your sorry azz into the ground for your ugly comment. There are plenty good Bomber fans on here. Then there are a few seriously ugly ones. You are in the category.

  2. RANDALL HOOK // June 27, 2018 at 4:22 pm //


  3. Lol
    Chris Jones should check the Italian senior league next! Michael Feterik cleaned up there!

    • What makes guy any different than Bo levi coming into the league? In fact he had more potential than that of Bo. He was a 5 star recruit coming out of high school and he actually went to a more prestigious school in college in a tougher division. Please do enlighten me.

      • Oh wow, he was a 5 star recruit and went to a more prestigious school!. Who cares! If athletes pro success was solely based on projections and prestige of amateur teams; Ryan Leaf would sit in the Hall of Fame beside Brett Favre and Alexi Yashin would have more Hart trophies than any player in NHL history.

        • Christopher // June 27, 2018 at 7:18 pm //

          Once again you completely miss the point of what he was trying to say, and then you get very defensive. I think you have a mental handicap!

      • Well first off. Bo was 22, this guy is 26 and already been a journeyman of football. Not likely to suddenly turn into a CFL star

        • MR. Green // June 27, 2018 at 5:29 pm //

          If this was about 17 years ago and the Riders brought in a chip delivery guy, you would cry and whine saying This Ricky Ray guy looks useless and will never do anything then say what’s next,a Coke guy. Why don’t you comment another 9 times in this thread dork!

          • For every Ricky Ray there are 100’s of “Nobody remembers that guy”
            Remember, this time last year Riderfans were fawning over Williams.

          • Puck Hog // June 27, 2018 at 10:43 pm //

            For a guy that nobody remembers, you manage to recall his name? But then, why wouldn’t you? After all, you know more about the Riders than most people. You’re a Riders’ SuperFan.

          • True Green // June 27, 2018 at 11:00 pm //

            Red, you’re the only man ive ever seen use the word “fawning” and it’s only because it describes how you feel about your man crush Bo.

        • Oh really, so thats the deciding factor? He’s 26 and isn’t going to amount to anything in the CFL? How old was Doug Flutie when he came into the CFL? Or how about Jeff Garcia? Those are two of your heros. Well in case you don’t know. Flutie was 28 and Garcia was 24. So what’s your point exactly? Again please do explain.

          • Flutie was 28, but he was a exceptional case. People forget, Flutie was talked about often as a guy meant for the CFL, the day he signed was no surprise to anyone (although in should have been Calgary, not BC). While there was no guarantee he would make it, there was much belief that we would. He was a once in a lifetime player.
            Garcia was 24

            26, while not old, is not young either for a brand new prospect.

          • Stampeding // June 27, 2018 at 6:24 pm //

            24- 26 is a big difference
            By the time Garcia was 26 he was the starter!!!

        • 3rd & 1 // June 28, 2018 at 2:44 pm //

          Why not Mr Duron Carter of 3downnation? Why couldnt he suddenly turn into a CFL star. The young man is 26 years old. He looks to have game. Is your professional opinion better than those qualified. You have to stop posting with so many names. How many names have you used on this article alone? 3?

  4. Saskhunter // June 27, 2018 at 4:30 pm //

    This guy will be a cornerback or a Olineman by Saturday.

  5. Edward Leslie // June 27, 2018 at 5:11 pm //

    Maybe Noah Picton could hook up with a team in the X League? Then maybe SASKATCHEWAN might notice the SASKATCHEWAN native, who plays at the University of REGINA.

    • richinbanff (Rich Wilson) // June 27, 2018 at 5:16 pm //

      If they sign Picton he loses his CIS eligibility.

      • Picton has gone back, because he knew he needed one more for experience, improvement, and his last chance at football. If I we’re him I’d like to ride my career out as long as I could, if I knew CFL was a longshot.

      • Riders, nothing against them, but Jones, has a habit of going after many of these NFL rejects. He might have potential, but many of these in the past haven’t worked out for them like Vince Young, or even Richardson for that matter. Tre Mason is decent, but their Oline isn’t the best, and even Messam hasn’t been that well. What’s even better, is every one of these signings, this site blows it up, when there are rookies in this league who have outperformed and earned their spot on a roster, and don’t get as much attention. Either way, Jones can make all this signings if he wants, what they need is an Oline, a reliable backup at QB, and someone familiar with the CFL. They are going with this signing when they are good at positions like Dline, LB, WR, DB, however, someone to replace Carter, or back him up at least, isn’t so bad.

        • You have to shake your head at these guys who talk about “NFL rejects”. Pretty well every American in the CFL, and many of the Canadians, are NFL rejects. How stupid does someone have to be not to know that?

          And we’re not looking at this guy as a real prospect. He’s being brought in as a temporary emergency #3. When either Collaros or Marshall is healthy this guy will be gone.

  6. He doesn’t exactly sound like the next big thing, but not sure the next big thing is available anywhere this time of year. If he can hold the clipboard, hopefully thats all we ask of him this year…

    • So did Daniels, and Williams tell Jones to pound sand ??

      • He’s being brought in as a temporary emergency #3. When either Collaros or Marshall is healthy this guy will be gone. I would imagine Daniels is looking for a better opportunity, one that has some potential for him to be kept around and treated like a real prospect.

  7. Good questions, I personally would have looked at them first, but its really easy calling the shots from my armchair.

  8. Former Rider fan // June 27, 2018 at 6:31 pm //

    How did the team that looked under every rock miss Streveler? Now Jones is looking under rocks in Japan. Are you watching Craig Reynolds?

  9. Just saying // June 27, 2018 at 6:56 pm //

    Yah, not bringing back the one of the two they cut is odd.

    • MR. Green // June 27, 2018 at 7:12 pm //

      Why bring back a QB they cut. Just dumb. Gotta look everywhere. Have a look and make a decision. This guy could be made for the CFL, then again he may not. Keyboard warriors seem to think it’s that easy. Someone this is Noah Picton? He will never play a CFL game that counts. He’ll, Carson Wentz was that close to giving up and retiring. No one else wanted him. So many dumb asses on here who think they know better. Like they are a super scout. Go comment on Facebook like the other tards.

      • So questioning why they don’t entertain players that know the play book makes me a dumb ass ??
        Plenty of QB’a have returned to teams they’ve been released from.

        • MR. Green // June 27, 2018 at 7:41 pm //

          Wasn’t talking to you. Collaros will be back. Bridge an Watford are miles ahead of the cuts. Why bring a 3rd stringer back who was cut instead of keeping him as a roster development player. Bring in new blood and look if you have someone on the radar is what I mean. If Bridge was hurt last week too, then they may not have a choice to bring in a QB cut. No panic at this time.Give this new guy a quality look.

  10. Basically, Jones needs a QB, he remembers seeing this guy on TV a lot as many Michigan games get national coverage, he looked like he knew what he was doing, he seemed to understand the rules- Why not try him!! That’s rider scouting.

    • Exactly! The writing is on the wall and Sask needs to start the process to get their next QB into their system.

  11. Certainly doesn’t hurt to have a look. He is a big QB at 6’4, near 220.

  12. why is there 8 columns on the same boring shyt team in a row? id rather read about any other team than sask on every column stop your favortism 3 down syndrome nation

    • No kidding. As a Rider fan I’m sick of all the Rider Stories – most of which are not really news for Rider fans. Is there only one team in this league?
      Personally I would like to know more about what is happening with other teams – and no, not just more Johnny stories.

  13. chuckles9961 // June 27, 2018 at 8:57 pm //

    This is as much of a joke as signing Zach. Hey I wonder what Vince Young is doing.

  14. US CFL fan // June 27, 2018 at 9:04 pm //

    Should just trade for Manziel although I really hope Montreal gets Johnny. Johnny would love Che Pere & Wanda’s

  15. Chris Jones has just signed Paul Talbot to a quarterback contract. He was the top Pop Warner QB in 1952 and says despite being 74 he is in good shape

  16. Might be a DIAMOND in the ROUGH for the ROUGHRIDERS. Certainly played at a top tier NCAA program but appears to be able to help the Riders in the QB area and as a WR if needed. Another Duron Carter per say versatile when needed at another position.

  17. Scottsask // June 27, 2018 at 10:57 pm //

    Well now, this has all been just very hurtful. Waaaaaawaaaaaaaa!

  18. First of all, it’s GARDNER – – not Gardiner.

    Now that I’ve clarified that bit of misinformation, we can get to my assessment.

    In some ways, Gardner reminds me of a poor man’s Darian Durant.

    No question he’s tough as all hell – – broke his foot in 2013 during The Game but played through it and still hung 450yds and 4TDs on a very good OSU team. Took a beating almost every week – – partly because he scrambled so much, partly because the ILibe was so useless – – but always played through it.

    Gardner took a ton of criticism at Michigan – – sons of it was racially motivated – – but always carried himself with total class at UM.

    He’s big and has good athleticism and scrambling ability to be able to pick up rushing yards, but he’s not blazing fast or super quick.

    Unfortunately his throwing mechanics are ugly and he throws way too many dumb INTs.

  19. Edward Leslie // June 28, 2018 at 2:05 am //

    Area 51: I doubt he faced racism in Michigan.
    We aren’t talking 1962 Mississippi here.
    He probably encountered more discrimination in the land of the rising sun.
    The Japanese like foreign tourists, but don’t trust the gai gins working among them.

    The Riders would be better off bringing back BJ Daniels, who looked good in pre season.
    Or they should offer a spot to Noah Picton, as I previously mentioned.
    Saskatchewan wouldn’t even give a tryout to previous Saskatchewan natives Cayman Shutter and Asher Hastings, who also deserved opportunities, but got none from the discriminatory Canadian Football League.

    • Absolutely bring back BJ if Bridge and or Watford get hurt because he is more likely to see playing time then. He already knows playbook. Otherwise I think they should get some new blood in. Which is what they are doing here.

    • You’ve got no clue what you’re talking about, so you toss out a laughable “I doubt it” comment.

      When I make a statement of fact – – as when I pointed out the racism Gardner endured at UM – – you can be absolutely certain that it’s accurate, my friend.

      “Last season, his first as the full-time starter, Gardner spoke about the hate email and Twitter posts he received. This year has been just as bad, if not worse, and he estimated he’s received at least 1,000 negative comments via Twitter and Instagram.

      “I’ve been called the N-word so many times this year,” Gardner said. “One guy told me I was the N-word, and said I know N-words can’t play quarterback. And I was like, are we not past this? Say what you want about my skill, but come on.””

      Gardner’s words, not mine.

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