The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in need of a quarterback.
Winnipeg (7-2) has the best record in the CFL and is atop most power rankings. The team’s roster is arguably the strongest in the league, boasting a wealth of both national and international talent.
Though the club is hopeful that Nichols could be back in as little as a month, it’s possible that he will be out for considerably longer. The 32-year-old was added to the club’s six-game injured list this week.
Injuries are threatening a once-promising season in Bomberland with a wealth of talent on the six-game injured list. The club can ill-afford to stand pat at the quarterback position with Nichols out of the line-up. There’s too much at stake.
Back-up Chris Streveler is a tremendous runner but has yet to prove he can pass well enough to be a starting quarterback. The second-year man has completed 9-of-16 pass attempts for 82 yards this season, tossing one touchdown and three interceptions.
The Bombers’ third-stringer is Sean McGuire, a 23-year-old rookie. The Western Illinois product looked good in the preseason but has yet to take a regular season snap at the professional level.
The pair might be able to tread water until Nichols is back, but bringing in extra help would be prudent.
Enter James Franklin.
Franklin has struggled since being traded from Edmonton to Toronto in December of 2017. The 28-year-old has tossed nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 14 games with the Argonauts, twice losing the starting job to journeyman McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
Franklin once had the potential to achieve greatness, tossing 12 touchdowns and one interception with the Eskimos. Why not see if that potential can still be realized? A change of scenery might be all he needs.
The Argos are asking for a second-round draft pick for Franklin, per sources, but that price should come down.
Franklin is a pending free agent who refused to sign a contract extension with Toronto this past winter. Considering how poorly the season has gone, it’s hard to imagine Franklin in double blue next season.
Letting Franklin leave in free agency would be a waste for a team with a number of holes on its roster. Trading him now would at least get the club an asset (or two) in return.
There’s also the matter of how many quarterbacks the Argos currently have under contract.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Dakota Prukop, and Michael O’Connor have been with Toronto since training camp, while Zach Collaros was added via trade in July.
Bethel-Thompson has played decently as of late, while Collaros should soon be ready to come off the six-game injured list. Prukop and O’Connor are both promising prospects worth developing long-term.
A trade involving James Franklin makes perfect sense for Winnipeg and Toronto. The earlier a deal is made the better — for both teams.