If the Edmonton Eskimos lose Mike Reilly – the face of the franchise for the last six seasons – general manager Brock Sunderland wants to go after another big-name quarterback who might hit the free agent market.
“If those guys become available and Mike isn’t here, then absolutely. We need to do our due diligence and try to find a quarterback who has experience, and go after the best one out there possible that would like to be here,” Sunderland said on TSN 1260 in Edmonton.
“We’ve got contingency plans and multiple salary cap projections with different names in that quarterback spot. You have to be prepared.”
Bo Levi Mitchell, Trevor Harris, Zach Collaros, Travis Lulay, Kevin Glenn, Jonathon Jennings and Brandon Bridge all have varying degrees of starting experience in the league. But Sunderland would ultimately choose Reilly to be the Eskimos quarterback moving forward.
“It won’t be a scenario where we are outbid. I have literally told their camp: ‘name their price’,” Sunderland told 630 Ched in Edmonton.
“Have we had conversations? Yeah, we’ve had a ton of conversations and he knows how we feel about him. Both with what we’ve shown and with what the offers have been…I can’t speak for Mike, I don’t know what he’s going to do, we’re going to find out here shortly.”
3DownNation insider Justin Dunk first reported the Eskimos have given Reilly permission to speak with other CFL teams are the league, including the B.C. Lions.
Reilly is set to become one of the most sought after CFL free agents and is expected to command a hefty asking price – potentially as high as $700,000 per season. Reilly was already the highest paid player during the 2018 season, earning over $500,000.
The 34-year-old has been well worth his salary, throwing 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.
And until the question at the most important position in football is answered for Edmonton, Sunderland has to be patient with regards to allocating funds at other positions.
“More difficult – definitely. We’ll do some things and we’re going to try to be as proactive as we can with guys here that we like and want to come back,” Sunderland said.
“The players that we do have have been very understanding and very patient, I understand it can’t be easy for them as well but we basically told everyone we’re waiting – there are a lot of moving parts – and we’ll let you know as soon as we can.”