Bombers’ GM Kyle Walters was ‘frustrated’ by Argos lack of communication at trade deadline

As the clock ticked down to the trade deadline on October 9, Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters didn’t think his team was going to acquire quarterback Zach Collaros.

“Toronto had changed their management and those guys were going through a lot and trying to sort through a bunch of stuff and I’m constantly on them about: ‘Hey, can we revisit this trade? Can we revisit this trade?'” Walters explained on TSN 1290 in Winnipeg.

“And I hadn’t heard and it was about an hour before the trade deadline and I again said: ‘I’m assuming since I haven’t heard then this is done?'”

Jim Popp had been fired as Argonauts GM and the pairing of general manager Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons and vice president of player personnel John Murphy were installed just days prior to the final day to make deals during the 2019 season. Popp had agreed in principal to a one-year contract extension with Collaros, but never had the chance to bring it to Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment for final approval.

“I just became frustrated. When you make a decision like that you like to take your time, think it through and this one was strictly you have to go with your gut and make a decision on the go and live with the consequences,” Walters said.

“And then about 20 minutes prior to the deadline the phone rang and they wanted to bring up the discussions. I generally don’t like to operate like that, but you were under the gun and you had to quickly make decisions and we wanted Zach in. Honestly, with under 10 seconds that trade got done or it wouldn’t have been allowed by the league.”

The Bombers sent their third round choice in the 2020 CFL draft for the Argos fifth round selection and Collaros. If Winnipeg re-signs Collaros, Toronto receives an additional first-round pick. The move paid off for Walters and the Bombers with the veteran quarterback producing a 4-0 record, including three wins in the playoffs on the way Winnipeg’s first Grey Cup victory in 29 years.

The 31-year-old is scheduled to become a free agent on February 11, 2020 at noon eastern time. Collaros is a veteran with the proven ability to lead a team to a CFL championship. There would be a number of suitors if Collaros hit the open market. However, Walters wants to finalize the Bombers’ coaching staff before deciding who to sign at quarterback.

“The coaches need to be involved in that and in the evaluation and the discussion process. We’re so far back in regards to timeline this year because we don’t have a coaching staff set. It’s just delayed, it is what it is,” Walters said.

“Once we get this coaching staff put in place we’ll have good discussions and make sure — we’re a group think tank organization — ultimately I make the decisions from the roster end of things. But you need to have the coaches on board with the players that they want in and the players that they’re comfortable with.”

Collaros would be open to re-signing in Winnipeg.

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