Photo courtesy Matt Smith CFL.ca

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have signed quarterback Zach Collaros to a contract extension which could total nearly $1 million.

General manager Kyle Walters paid Collaros $440,000 in hard money for 2020 and $450,000 in 2021. Each year Collaros can make an additional $50,000 in playtime bonuses. For every game he plays 51 percent or more of the offensive snaps Collaros collects $2,777.77. The signing bonus checks in at $225,000.

Collaros earned $310,000 in hard money last season — $115,000 in base salary and $20,000 in housing combined with a $175,000 signing bonus. He was given a substantial pay raise of more than $130,000 in hard money year over year. Winnipeg decided to focus their efforts on inking Collaros to a new pact over fellow veteran QB Matt Nichols.

Nichols collected $455,000 in 2019 — a $225,000 roster bonus which was paid on January 15, $209,000 base salary and $21,000 combined for housing and travel. However, he sustained what Winnipeg described as a “significant shoulder injury” last August when he was strip-sacked by B.C. Lions defensive lineman Shawn Lemon.

Walters acquired Collaros at the trade deadline and it paid off with the veteran quarterback producing a 4-0 record, including three wins in the playoffs en route to hoisting Earl Grey’s mug. Collaros was the starter who propelled Winnipeg to the run through the end of the season, playoffs and ultimately a Grey Cup championship. Bombers’ head coach Mike O’Shea saw Collaros as ‘the guy’ during the victories which led to a CFL title.

Winnipeg sent their third-round choice in the 2020 CFL draft to the Toronto Argos for Collaros and a fifth-round selection during the October deadline. Now that the Bombers re-signed Collaros, Toronto receives an additional first-round pick, ninth overall in the 2020 CFL draft.

Collaros has amassed a 35-31 win-loss record while completing 65 percent of his passes for 16,979 yards and 94 touchdowns against 52 interceptions in 92 games over eight seasons. During three post-season games with the Bombers, Collaros totalled 630 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interception while completing 65 percent of his attempts.

The Bombers have heavily invested in Collaros as the starter at the game’s most important position for the next two seasons.

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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.