Stampeders will receive first overall pick in 2020 CFL draft if Redblacks sign QB Nick Arbuckle

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Ottawa traded for the rights to pending free agent quarterback Nick Arbuckle.

If the Redblacks are able to sign the 26-year-old to a new contract, Calgary will receive the first overall pick in the 2020 CFL draft, per sources. Arbuckle is set to become a free agent on February 11, which gives the Redblacks just over a month of exclusive negotiating time.

The six-foot-one, 213-pound QB was sent to Ottawa in exchange for a third-round choice, but the deal included a conditional pick. If the pivot signs a contract extension, the Redblacks must send Calgary the first overall pick in the 2020 CFL draft. The Stampeders would ship their first-round pick — sixth overall — back to Ottawa.

Arbuckle posted a 4-3 record as a starter while Bo Levi Mitchell healed during the 2019 season. He completed 174-of-238 passes for 2,103 yards with 11 touchdowns against five interceptions and ran 27 times for 76 yards and four majors.

One of the men who helped Arbuckle develop in Cowtown was Ryan Dinwiddie, who is the new head coach of the Toronto Argonauts. Calgary had discussions with the Argos regarding a similar deal for Arbuckle, but Toronto felt the young quarterback could possibly end up in double blue anyway due to his relationship with Dinwiddie.

Toronto was proposed a deal similar to the one that sent Mike Reilly from B.C. to Edmonton in 2013 — a swap of second-round picks with an additional second-rounder conditional on a contract extension. The Argos turned down the trade, which allowed the Redblacks to execute the transaction.

The Georgia State University product was highly productive in the NCAA. He passed for 7,651 yards, 51 touchdowns and 29 interceptions with a 61.9 completion rate. Arbuckle was invited to Pittsburgh Steelers rookie mini-camp in 2016, however, he was not offered a contract after its completion.

The Stampeders liked what they saw on film from Arbuckle and signed him later that same year when he spent a month on Calgary’s practice roster. He was released and rejoined Calgary in 2018, appearing in 36 regular season games over the past two seasons.

As a Stamp, Arbuckle completed 191-of-263 passes (72 percent completion rate) for 2,247 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He had 62 carries for 149 yards and nine touchdowns.

Both Ottawa and Toronto are intrigued and believe in the abilities and upside of Arbuckle.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.