Argos GM Jim Popp: James Franklin trade has ‘nothing to do’ with Ricky Ray

Toronto traded for rising quarterback James Franklin on Monday and the first thought that ran through many minds: what does the acquisition mean for Ricky Ray?

According to Argonauts general manager Jim Popp, not much.

“This has nothing to do with Ricky. This wasn’t a decision based off anything to do with Ricky.” Popp said. “Ricky Ray will make his own decision when the time is right whether he is going to be back with the Argonauts or not.

“But from our end, we’ve gotta be aggressive and keep working on things, as we do at all positions all the time. This was just an opportunity to get a young man that has a great upside that just happens to be playing the same position as Ricky Ray. This has nothing to do with Ricky Ray’s decisions or what is going to happen in 2018. But we have to be prepared depending on decisions made and this is part of our puzzle that you have a piece to along with our other quarterbacks that we have under contract.”

The 38-year-old Ray had a resurgent 2017 season under head coach Marc Trestman throwing for 5,546 yards and 28 touchdowns. That was after Ray appeared in 12 games of 36 games over the last two years due to a series of ailments. Trestman was unfazed by the injuries and named Ray the Argos starting quarterback at his introductory press conference in February. Ray lead the team to the 2017 Grey Cup championship, a record-setting fourth by a QB in CFL history. That’s led to speculation that Ray could go out on top.

“We have not had any decision from him. We haven’t tried to negotiate a contract, we haven’t entered into any of that. As I said before, he should take some time off, relax, get through the month of December – it’s his decision if he decides he’s not playing anymore or he wants to play. When he makes that decision, he’ll let us know. We may not know until May,” Popp said about Ray with a laugh.

“Whether it’s the quarterback position or any other position on our team you always have to try to find more people and we gotta find players that can play and help you win. This is one of those situations that we were able to get ahold of a player that a lot of people seem to have a lot of interest in that could potentially be a big-time player in the CFL.”

Ray is a certain Hall of Famer, but his future is anything but right now.

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