The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been searching for a quarterback with CFL playing time and success on their resume.
Zach Collaros fits both of those criteria.
“We’ve been looking for a veteran quarterback for quite a while. We had talked about it in our meetings and we’d reached out to four guys with CFL experience to see about their interest in coming back and none of them were,” general manager Kyle Walters said.
The Bombers sent their third round choice in the 2020 CFL draft for Collaros and the Argos fifth round selection. If Winnipeg re-signs Collaros, Toronto receives an additional first round pick.
“It happened so quickly you just have to make a quick decision. Dropping in the draft for him to come in and see what happens was worth the risk. When we sat in here and discussed the quarterbacks, it was pretty important that if we do bring somebody in we did want them to have some CFL experience,” Walters said.
If Jim Popp was still calling the shots for Toronto the deal never would have went down. The new Argos’ pairing of general manager Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons and vice president of player personnel John Murphy switched course on the deal.
“When I talked to Jim about it there was really no interest from Jim to move Zach. With what happened over there in the last few days, I figured I’d revisit with the new regime and things were able to get done,” Walters said.
“In our meetings when we talk about the guys that we’re interested in and guys that we think would be a fit here or we’d like to bring into our organization, the name from a coaching staff and scouting department was Zach Collaros with his experience level.”
The 31-year-old has a 34-31 win-loss record while completing 65 percent of his passes for 16,758 yards and 92 touchdowns against 51 interceptions in 73 games over nine seasons. Collaros led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a Grey Cup appearance in 2014, narrowly losing to the Calgary Stampeders.
“We talk about potential guys that we want to bring in or have a chance to help us win, Zach’s name was brought up that this would be an intriguing guy. Now let’s turn him over to Paul [LaPolice] and Mike [O’Shea] and the offensive guys,” Walters said.
The Bombers were in need of a proven player at quarterback with Matt Nichols out due to a season-ending shoulder injury and Chris Streveler struggling. Streveler has a 2-4 win-loss record since Nichols was sidelined, including a three-game losing streak which has dropped Winnipeg to 9-6 and out of first place in the West Division.
“We’ll let Zach get into town, let him take a few snaps. It’s depth and competition,” Walters said.
“Let’s see how quickly he can pick things up and where he goes from there.”