The Riders search for their next starting quarterback will continue after James Franklin was dealt to the Toronto Argonauts on Monday.
One of the worst kept secrets in the CFL over the last two years has been Chris Jones’ interest in acquiring the intriguing young pass slinger from his former team. There’s plenty of reasons why, Franklin is young and has shown very well to date in relatively limited CFL action. Jones would know him well too, which certainly helps.
You have to imagine that Jones kept trying to acquire Franklin until the deal with Toronto was done. We’ll probably never know what Edmonton would have been looking for from Saskatchewan to trade their biggest chip within the division. Would having better Canadian depth have helped? Maybe. Was Edmonton looking for more out of the Riders? Perhaps. Either way, unless a deal doesn’t get done with Toronto (which would be a major blunder by Jim Popp), the dream of Franklin landing in Saskatchewan is dead. And Jones wouldn’t comment on another team’s quarterback when asked about the Franklin trade during his contract extension presser.
So where do the Riders go from here? They just have to keep on doing what they’re doing (hot take, I know). The team will keep searching near and far for their next pivot. There’s no reason to believe that their next quarterback won’t be found, as I’ve written before, CFL quarterbacks have a history of coming out of nowhere. The only question is who and when?
As it stands right now, there are some options in house. First and foremost a deal has to get done with Brandon Bridge, who’s value may have just nudged a little higher with the Franklin deal. At this point, Bridge is the furthest along (of the three not named Kevin Glenn) who were on the roster last season. Bridge has played about as much as Franklin, and even though he has known flaws, now is probably the time to see if he can actually do it or not.
It might be a little early for Marquise Williams but he did show well in very limited time in the pre-season. It would have been nice to see the former Tar Heel get more time than he did in the team’s second pre-season game. Can Williams take a big step forward with some time under his belt? Maybe.
Vernon Adam’s Jr. does have some experience with Montreal, winning a few starts a long the way. He didn’t really get the chance to do much else other than short yardage since being traded to Saskatchewan. How he fits in around here is still a bit of a question mark.
There could also be some options elsewhere this offseason with guys like Zach Collaros (I think he’s got something in the tank), among others likely being available one way or another. Most of those free market options don’t really come with much long term potential, though. They could fill the gap for the time being until someone else is found.
If nothing works, then you basically just keep throwing jello against the wall until something sticks. It’s unscientific and it could take longer than some would like, but there isn’t a whole lot else you can do.