Edmonton put second-year quarterback James Franklin on the one-game injured list Friday, ramping up speculation that the defending Grey Cup champions could trade the young pivot. That possibility has been discussed with Saskatchewan.
CFL sources say the Eskimos asked for 2016 No. 1 overall pick, offensive lineman Josiah St. John and a first round selection, but the Riders said no. That does not mean that the deal is completely dead.
St. John was taken first overall by the Riders in the 2016 CFL Draft on May 10, but he has yet to report to Saskatchewan. The six-foot-six, 309-pounder requested a trade in early June after contract talks between the two sides stalled. Reports say the Oklahoma product is looking for compensation in line with what the top picks received last year. In 2015, Ottawa Redblacks centre Alex Mateas (first overall) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers guard Sukh Chungh (second) both received signing bonuses plus base salaries of approximately $80,000, with playing incentives that could’ve reached $20,000 more.
Meanwhile, the Riders have countered with an offer at the league minimum of $52,000 and $53,000 over the course of a two-year deal, according to the Regina Leader-Post.
The move makes sense for Saskatchewan as they do not have a quarterback who has thrown a pass in a regular season game behind veteran Darian Durant. The 33-year-old Durant is coming off back-to-back season-ending injuries and missed most of 2015 with a torn Achilles.
Franklin spent the 2015 season as Edmonton’s No. 2 quarterback behind Mike Reilly and started two games when Reilly went down with a knee injury week one. The 24-year-old completed 84 of 133 passes for 973 yards with six touchdowns and one interception with a quarterback efficiency rating of 97.1. The Missouri alum added 16 carries for 140 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
Trades involving quarterbacks and first round picks are not unprecedented in the CFL. Back in 2014, B.C. traded a first-round draft choice (fifth overall) for veteran QB Kevin Glenn. This past May, Montreal sent a first-rounder to the Lions for star Oregon signal caller Vernon Adams.