Stampeders’ GM John Hufnagel sets the record straight about active roster allotment for CFL quarterbacks

Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Calgary Stampeders general manager John Hufnagel has cleared up what was a confusing issue regarding the number of active roster spots for CFL quarterbacks.

“Going forward it’s mandatory that you dress two quarterbacks, you could dress three and play a player short somewhere else, that’s your decision. But I would think that most teams would dress two quarterbacks,” Hufnagel said on 770 CHQR radio in Calgary.

“Maybe keep the third quarterback on the inactive to take him to the games just in case your quarterback does get sick, one of the two that you take on game day. Also, give him the experience of being on the field, just not in the uniform.”

Traditionally, CFL teams have been required to dress three quarterbacks for each game. Under the new and current collective bargaining agreement that requirement will go down to two in 2020 and beyond.

“Last year was a different rule than this year. Last year you were allowed to dress up to three quarterbacks and you could dress 45 players, you could dress 44 players and only dress two quarterbacks,” Hufnagel said.

“So, some teams because of the salary cap situation decided to dress the two quarterbacks, which we did for the major part of the season.”

The new rule specifies a requirement of two quarterbacks, not a limit of two quarterbacks. Some teams may take advantage of the guideline, but it could hinder the development of young quarterbacks in the three-down league.

“Anything you do to help get that third quarterback some experience, game experience, obviously the best game experience is on the field, but a lot of the backups were on the sideline the majority of the time before they get their opportunity,” Hufnagel said.

Vernon Adams Jr., Dane Evans, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Cody Fajardo and Nick Arbuckle started the 2019 season as backups and saw plenty of action as starters.

“Look how many young guys stepped up last year,” Hufnagel said, “going from the backup quarterback and going out there and winning football games.”