Alouettes pay QB Vernon Adams Jr. nearly $1.5 million

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The Montreal Alouettes paid quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. franchise quarterback ‘argent’ — that’s money in French.

General manager Danny Maciocia has officially anointed Adams Jr. the face of the present and foreseeable future in La Belle Province. Maciocia negotiated a contract worth $415,000 in hard money — after already collecting a $20,000 roster bonus on January 1, Adams Jr.’s compensation rises to $435,000 — for the 2020 season. Adams Jr. earned approximately $150,000 in 2019.

Originally Adams was scheduled to make $128,500 in hard money for the upcoming season plus a bunch of available playtime and performance-based incentives for additional cash. There are two more years on the deal where Adams Jr.’s total take home rises even higher.

For signing on the dotted line Adams Jr. received $165,000 and could max out at $471,000 for the current year. The hard money for the 2021 campaign is $445,000 and has the ability to total $481,000 while 2022 checks in at $460,000 in hard money with $514,000 highly possible.

The escalators are playtime related which makes it really likely Adams Jr. earns all of the dollars on his fresh pact. Should Adams Jr. be named an all-star or Most Outstanding Player at the division or league level he would receive more cash. Adams Jr. recently signed with agent Cameron Weiss of Dynamic Sports Group who represents several other prominent CFL players including Adams Jr.’s teammate and favourite receiver Eugene Lewis.

Adams Jr. is set to collect more than Saskatchewan Roughriders’ GM Jeremy O’Day doled out to quarterback Cody Fajardo on his contract extension. For the first year of the new pact, Fajardo’s hard money total is $412,000. That bumps to $444,000 in year two. There are playtime and performance-based incentives available.

After failed attempts to trade Adams, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats released Adams Jr. — Jeremiah Masoli and Dane Evans were on the Ticats’ roster at the time — and Montreal signed him days later in June 2018. Adams started one game that season in July – just days after the Alouettes made a blockbuster trade for Johnny Manziel.

Adams Jr. completed 15-of-28 passes for 217 yards with an interception while rushing eight times for 72 yards and a touchdown. During the 44-23 loss to Edmonton inWeek 7 the Montreal crowd chanted “We want Johnny” which ‘hurt’ Adams.

Manziel started eight games the rest of the schedule, but won just two of eight games. He pass for 1,290 yards, five touchdowns versus seven interceptions and rushed 29 times for 215 yards ending the season 2-6 as Montreal’s starter.

The league office directed the Als to release Manziel in February 2019 after the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner missed required meetings with people tasked to help him stay on the straight and narrow – a violation of the agreement set out by the CFL.

With Manziel gone, Antonio Pipkin won the starting QB job coming out of training camp. However, Pipkin suffered a lower leg injury and Adams Jr. took over the starting role. The former University of Oregon star produced a 10-5 win-loss record while throwing for 3,942 yards, 24 touchdowns versus 13 interceptions and rushed for 394 yards with a league-high-tying 12 majors on the ground.

Under the leadership of head coach Khari Jones and Adams Jr., Montreal made the playoffs for the first time since 2014 with a 10-8 record and hosted a playoff game. The Alouettes originally acquired Adams Jr. via trade when former Montreal GM Jim Popp sent a 2017 first-round CFL draft pick to the B.C. Lions in May 2016.

Adams Jr. provides an infectious energy and playmaking ability for the Alouettes. It’s been a remarkable rise from cast off to franchise quarterback status for big play V.A. junior.

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