Eskimos GM Brock Sunderland: ‘good discussions’ with QB Mike Reilly

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The number one task for Edmonton Eskimos general manager Brock Sunderland during the 2019 off-season: sign quarterback Mike Reilly.

The soon to be 34-year-old is the highest profile CFL free agent and a trigger man many teams throughout the league would really love to have as their face of the franchise. But it’s going to cost them: Reilly was the highest paid player during the 2018 season, earning over $500,000.

Reilly has thrown for over 5,000 yards in three straight seasons with the Eskimos, including a career-high 5,830 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2017,  earning the CFL most outstanding player award.

Back in 2015, Reilly led Edmonton to a Grey Cup championship and earned CFL title game MVP honours. Reilly was originally acquired by the Eskimos in January 2013 when then-general manager Ed Hervey sent two second-round draft picks (2013 and 2014) to B.C. for the QB and the Lions’ second-round selection in 2013.

That connection with Hervey has led to speculation the Lions could make a strong play to acquire Reilly in free agency. But Sunderland has been working to ensure Reilly doesn’t hit the open market.

“Good discussions,” is how Sunderland characterized the talks with Reilly and his agent Dan Vertlieb on Thursday. “But if there was something concrete we’d certainly be having a different press conference today. “

Sunderland and the Eskimos clearly want Reilly to stay in green and gold. Reilly stated at the end of the season he would like to sit back, carefully look at the landscape and evaluate the entire situation in detail. Winning, Reilly said, is the most important factor.

“I’m not going to try to speak for Mike. We’ve had good conversations, I think he certainly enjoys it here, but what another person is going to do – I know this: we’ve made strong offers and he knows 100 per cent how we feel about him and how badly we’d like him here. And that’s what we can control and what we can do. But I don’t think it’d be right for me to try to speak for him and what his thoughts are,” Sunderland said.

Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones spent two seasons in Edmonton, hoisting the Grey Cup with Reilly in 2015. Expect the Riders to put forward a substansial offer for Reilly.

There will be no shortage of suitors for Reilly increasing the degree of difficulty for Sunderland.

About the author

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk is the pre-eminent CFL insider and unabashed supporter of Canadian quarterbacks. He is one of the founders of the new 3DownNation.

By Justin Dunk

3DownNation is a website dedicated to covering the CFL and Canadian football.




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