Signing quarterback Trevor Harris to an extension is the top priority for Ottawa Redblacks general manager Marcel Desjardins.
“We are going to approach it systematically relative to who we’re going to try to get signed first. Obviously, Trevor Harris would be the No. 1 component there for us to move forward with,” Desjardins said on TSN radio in Ottawa.
Harris initially inked a two-year deal with the Redblacks during free agency in 2016. The two sides then put pen to paper on a one-year pact for the 2018 season, paying Harris in the range of $450,000.
“When we signed him to a 2018 contract we also put the framework in place for a 2019 contract. We did not execute the contract but we said let’s see how this whole thing plays out relative to the CBA and whatnot,” Desjardins said.
In 2017 Harris went 7-7-1 as the team’s starting pivot, but lost in the East semifinal. This season, Desjardins saw the improvement as Harris threw for a career-high 5,116 yards while leading Ottawa to an 11-7 regular season record, an East Division crown and a Grey Cup appearance.
“There’s no doubt about it. He did on the field, he did off the field, he’s a lot more comfortable being the face of this franchise and being the leader of this team. He just works hard every single day and he leaves no stone unturned and I certainly expect that to continue to be the case and hopefully he can be our quarterback for years to come,” Desjardins said.
A multi-year length extension would be ideal from Desjardins’ perspective.
“Two to three years for sure. I don’t think you want to go too much beyond that. But that’s a discussion we’ll have and I know he’s stated he would like to be here for the long term so let’s see if we can get that done,” the 52-year-old GM said.
“So at some point here I’m going to talk to Trevor’s agent and get a sense as to where they’re coming from and what their intent is in terms of moving forward. So I would expect that framework for 2019 would remain the same and then it’s just a function of how we adjust for future years beyond that.”
There are a number of high profile quarterbacks who are pending free agents and teams could throw big money at preferred pivots to sway them into switching teams. However, Desjardins has a level of confidence about keeping Harris in the nation’s capital.
“I feel comfortable with the discussions that we’ve had with his agent going back to late last year when we signed his 2018 contract,” Desjardins said.
“And I guess we’ll just see how that plays out here over the course of the next several weeks.”