Before the 2019 CFL schedule kicked off, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Matt Nichols discussed a possible contract extension.
Nichols’ current pact runs out in February 2020. Nichols earned $420,000 in 2018, including a $215,000 bonus when he signed a fresh deal. He will collect $455,000 in 2019: $225,000 roster bonus which was paid on Jan. 15, $209,000 base salary and $21,000 combined for housing and travel. (Nichols’ numbers from 3DownNation insider Justin Dunk.)
“Tried to get something done before the season, the CBA played into some of that. We’re in-season right now, it’s not really the time to get into much of that talk,” Nichols said.
“We’ll have plenty of time here once the season ends to get into those talks. I love it here, I’d love to be back. But we’ll see how it all plays out.”
The veteran pivot spoke for the first time since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. He left Winnipeg’s Week 10 win against B.C. favouring his right arm and shoulder. He went for an MRI and was placed on the six-game injured list. Head coach Mike O’Shea originally said he expected Nichols to be ready for a return after four-to-six weeks.
“It was borderline and I wanted to do everything I can to give myself a chance to continue to play this year and I hit a point where it wasn’t going to be possible,” Nichol said.
“I’ve had success in the past in similar situations and have it worked out and play no problem, so I was hoping for one of those situations and unfortunately it wasn’t a scenario where I was going to be able to return to play this year.”
Nichols was hurt when he was strip-sacked by Lions pass rusher Shawn Lemon in the fourth quarter on August 15 at IG Field. Since Nichols was sidelined, Chris Streveler has taken over the starting QB role.
“Surgeon did an awesome job; expect full recovery. I’m going to be ready to go for next season,” Nichols said.
“It was a shoulder injury, nothing catastrophic just something that needed to be fixed.”
The 32-year-old had an impressive 15-5 touchdown to interception ratio, but didn’t eclipsed the 300-yard mark in 2019. Nichols was playing consistent football, completing more than 71 per cent of his passes when he was on the field.
Nichols had a career-best season in 2017 when he threw for 4,472 yards and 28 touchdowns. During 2018, Nichols’ numbers were down with 3,146 yards just 18 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.
“I felt like I was playing the best football of my life this year and I don’t think that’s something that goes unnoticed,” Nichols said.
“Luckily as a quarterback I feel like I’m in the prime of my career. Expect to have a lot of good football in front of me.”