What Mike Reilly’s extension means for Eskimos

Ed Hervey may have lost Chris Jones, but he wasn’t about to let his franchise quarterback get away.

Edmonton inked Mike Reilly to a three-year contract extension on Thursday. Reilly’s new deal gives him $250,000 up front and he took less in 2015 to help keep the corps of the team together. That said, at the time of signing, No. 13 is set be the highest paid player in the CFL for the 2017 and 2018 seasons at over $500,000 per year. That’s the price it took for Edmonton to keep their star QB.

The 31-year-old signal caller led the Eskimos to a 2015 Grey Cup championship and earned CFL title game MVP honours. Reilly completed 21-of-35 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a team-high 66 yards on 10 carries in Edmonton’s 26-20 triumph over Ottawa.

Reilly was originally acquired by the Eskimos in January 2013 when Hervey sent two second-round draft picks (2013 and 2014) to B.C. for the import QB and the Lions’ second-round selection in 2013. That was just over a year after Ricky Ray had been traded to Toronto in December of 2011.

With Ray being gone from Edmonton that created a No. 1 quarterback need. And if Ray had not been dealt, it’s entirely possible that Reilly never would’ve ended up in green and gold.

The Eskimos lock up one of the league’s premier quarterbacks in the prime of his career. Reilly has flourished since becoming a full-time starter in Edmonton. He’s been an integral part of leading the team back from the bottom of the West Division to the top of the CFL. Keeping the dual-threat quarterback in the fold should mean that the Eskimos will be legitimate Grey Cup contenders for the foreseeable future.

Most importantly, Edmonton has ensured stability at two crucial positions within the organization for the next three years. Eskimos’ head coach Jason Maas and Reilly having matching terms on their contracts.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.