Toronto head coach Marc Trestman didn’t mince words when he was asked if James Franklin has been installed as the backup to future Hall of Fame quarterback Ricky Ray.
“I want to make that very clear, I’ve told James Franklin he’s gotta win the backup job because I am high on the other quarterbacks as well. And I’ve seen those guys over a whole year. James Franklin hasn’t been anointed to be the backup. He’s going to be a competitor for the backup position,” Trestman told the media on Monday.
Franklin’s salary $250,000 in “hard money” and $90,000 in possible playtime bonuses might suggest otherwise. The 26-year-old was signed to that lucrative two-year extension after Toronto acquired Franklin in a trade with Edmonton.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Dakota Prukop and Jeff Mathews are the other quarterbacks currently on the Argos roster along with Ray and Franklin.
“Certainly, we want him to succeed, but with McLeod and Dakota, we still have Jeff in the room, we’re going to make time in training camp for these guys to get the work, not that they’re going to play during the season, because I hope none of them play a down, quite frankly. But if they do we’re going to give them a chance to find out who that guy is going to be to go in there first,” Trestman said.
Franklin completed 116-of-176 passes (66 completion rate) for 1,449 yards and 12 touchdowns against one interception and carried the ball 18 times for 145 yards and one touchdown in three seasons with Edmonton. He’s seen as a young, up-and-coming signal caller with franchise potential.
“I’ve spent time with him and I’m really high on his ability, but he’s gotta earn it,” Trestman said. “He’ll have to come here and earn being the backup because right now he’s not because he hasn’t been here.”