Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

The Riders are revelling in a real deal for starting quarterback Cody Fajardo.

Fajardo’s one-year deal through the 2019 season with the Riders is a bargain, paying him $86,800 in hard money. The 27-year-old also has playtime and statistical-based bonuses available.

The hard money is made up of a $20,000 signing bonus, $65,000 in base salary and $1,800 in housing. But the contract will improve for Fajardo as the Riders’ No. 1 QB.

Fajardo is paid $500 for every game he starts along with an additional $2,000 for being on the field for equal to or more than 51 per cent of all offensive plays.

As such, Fajardo is on track to earn $8,500 for starting 17 games and $36,000 in playtime bonuses. That would bring his total to $131,300 if the pivot stays healthy for the rest of the regular season games. And there is more money available.

Fajardo earns $250 for every touchdown and three bonuses laid out for passing yardage: $1,000 for 3,000 yards; $2,000 for 4,000 yards; and $3,000 for 5,000 yards. He’ll also earn a further $1,000 if he reaches 500 rushing yards.

When Fajardo signed with Saskatchewan as a free agent he was locked in as the backup, which is why there is $100 per game for playing equal or more than one per cent of all special teams plays.

Saskatchewan’s rising star has similar all-star bonuses stipulated in other contracts around the league — $1,000 for being named a West Division all-star and $2,000 for CFL all-star honours. If Fajardo claimed the Most Outstanding Player Award it would pay him $3,000.

As Saskatchewan’s starter, Fajardo has been mostly stellar leading the Riders to a 5-2 record. He’s thrown for 1,871 yards while completing over 74 per cent of his passes with seven touchdowns against four interceptions. The dual-threat QB has used his legs for 275 yards and six touchdowns on 52 rushing attempts, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

Should Fajardo make every possible dollar on his contract – it would still be around $150,000 for a starting quarterback. Even with what the Riders paid Collaros prior to trading him to Toronto — $175,000 signing bonus, $6,388 for one base salary game cheque and a small part of his $20,000 housing — the overall quarterback expenditures in 2019 for Saskatchewan is on the low end compared to others across the league.

That cap savings might give the Riders some flexibility to supplement the roster following NFL training camp cuts. The savvy negotiations were done by general manager Jeremy O’Day and gives Saskatchewan options.

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