Saskatchewan Roughriders fans fretting about the potential departure of their veteran quarterback, Darian Durant, can worry anew after listening to Montreal Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed.
During an interview Thursday on The Green Zone, a Saskatchewan radio show, Reed was asked by host Jamie Nye about the Alouettes’ quarterback situation.
Reed said Montreal’s young quarterbacks, Vernon Adams and Rakeem Cato, “have done a good job and shown growth. Now we’re at the stage where we want to win right now.’’
Reed wasn’t asked specifically about Durant, whose contract squabble with the Roughriders makes him unlikely to re-sign before his deal expires Feb. 14. Although he was just hired as Montreal’s general manager, Reed is a long-time CFL coach who knows he can’t discuss acquiring another team’s player without being penalized for tampering.
Still, Reed’s next comment sure sounded like Durant would be a prized, offseason acquisition as a free-agent signing:
“How can we augment that position with other people given any transaction we need to make to try to do that?”
There are more than 200 players whose CFL contracts expire Feb. 14, but Durant is the best of the available quarterbacks in a crowd that also includes two Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Matt Nichols and Kevin Glenn.
Durant, 34, has played all 11 of his CFL seasons with the Roughriders.
After becoming the undisputed starter in 2009 he led the Riders to back-to-back Grey Cup appearances and the 2013 championship, earning his status as an all-time fan favourite.
Major injuries sidelined Durant for most of 2014 and 2015, but he rebounded with a decent 2016 (15 games, 330-for-496 passing for 3,839 yards with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions, plus 308 rushing yards and six touchdowns). With a totally revamped roster in 2016, the Roughriders missed the playoffs with a 5-13 record in their first season under Chris Jones, the head coach, general manager, vice-president of football operations and defensive co-ordinator.
From the onset it seemed like Durant was never a Jones favourite. They immediately renegotiated the quarterback’s contract before last season, shortening it to one year and a decreased value of $444,000, according to Justin Dunk’s story in 3DownNation.com.
Although it appeared in September like Durant might re-sign, there has been friction evident in more recent reports claiming that the team is offering a $250,000 salary while Durant has agreed to accept a pay cut to $350,000.