What the Riders are paying QB Zach Collaros

Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The Saskatchewan Roughriders incentive-laden deal for Zach Collaros could see the quarterback earn more than $400,000 in 2019 – a relative bargain considering the recent free agent market.

Collaros’ deal features $115,000 base salary, $20,000 housing combined with $175,000 to sign equalling $310,000 in hard money. The signing bonus won’t be paid until the CBA is ratified under the directive from the league office not to pay any off-season cash to players.

However, incentives could take the deal well over $400,000. Each game Collaros plays 51 per cent of the offensive snaps earns him $5,555 for a maximum of $100,000 if he makes it through all 18 games. He also has $5,000 incentives for reaching the six, nine and 12 game marks. Possible earnings could reach $425,000 plus other statistic and all-star bonuses.

Collaros was acquired by the Riders in January 2018 from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a second-round draft pick. Saskatchewan paid Collaros $430,000 last year – $225,000 up front – and the 30-year-old started 14 games for Saskatchewan, passing for 2,999 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. However, Collaros missed four games due to injury.

In 59 career CFL games  before coming to Saskatchewan – with the Argos (2012-13) and Ticats (2014-17) – Collaros accumulated a 66.5 completion percentage for 13,759 yards, 83 touchdowns and 38 interceptions, leading Hamilton to a Grey Cup appearance in 2014.

But even with the incentives, Collaros’ contract is cap-friendly when compared to the other deals signed this month.

Mike Reilly signed a four-year, $2.9 million dollar contract with the B.C. Lions averaging $725,000 per season. Calgary inked Bo Levi Mitchell to a four-year, $2.8 million contract paying him $675,000, $695,000, $705,000 and $725,000 over the course of the deal. Down Highway 2 in Alberta, Trevor Harris put pen to paper on a two-year deal worth $525,000 per season. Saskatchewan’s rival Winnipeg is set to pay Matt Nichols $455,000.

Clearly the investment by general manager Jeremy O’Day indicates that he believes Collaros can allow the Riders to compete in a loaded West Division.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.