Argos add NFL quarterback DeShone Kizer to exclusive negotiation list

The Toronto Argonauts have added quarterback DeShone Kizer to their negotiation list, per sources.

Kizer was recently waived by the Las Vegas Raiders. He entered the NFL as a second round, 52nd overall selection in the 2017 draft by Cleveland.

During his rookie season, Kizer started 15 games for the Browns, throwing for 2,894 yards, 11 touchdowns against an NFL-high 22 interceptions with a 53.6 percent completion rate. He rushed 77 times for 419 yards and five touchdowns, an average of 5.4 yards per carry.

The following March, Cleveland traded the six-foot-four, 233-pounder to Green Bay. He backed up Aaron Rodgers and played in three games, completing 47.6 percent of his passes for 187 yards and two interceptions. The Packers released Kizer among the final 53-man roster cuts last August. However, the Raiders claimed him and that’s where he spent the 2019 season.

The 24-year-old rose to stardom at the University of Notre Dame. Kizer played 25 games for the Fighting Irish during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He connected on 60.7 percent of his passes for 5,805 yards with 47 touchdowns versus 19 interceptions while rushing for 1,001 yards and 18 scores.

When Kizer left Notre Dame after his junior year and entered the NFL he set high goals for himself.

“No one else can do what I can do. And I’ve truly figured out in this (draft) process, if I can maximize all my potential in every aspect of the game – this is bold – I do have the ability to be the greatest quarterback to ever play,” Kizer told NFL reporter Tom Pelissero.

“Imagine taking (Tom) Brady’s intellect and Brady’s preparation and putting it on a guy with Cam Newton’s body. Why can’t I be the greatest? The only thing stopping me from it is me. That’s what’s driving me now.”

Kizer was not claimed by any NFL team on waivers and now is a free agent. He earned over 3.8 million USD while in the NFL. The Argos rushed to beat other CFL teams and put him on their exclusive neg list.

Toronto already has veteran Matt Nichols, McLeod Bethel-Thompson and national Michael O’Connor under contract at the quarterback position. Meanwhile, the double blue had been recruiting former Michigan State University star Connor Cook.

The Argos signed playmaking receiver DaVaris Daniels in free agency, he was at Notre Dame for one season when Kizer redshirted in 2014. Current offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jarious Jackson was a two-year starter for the Fighting Irish at quarterback in 1998 and 1999. Those Notre Dame connections could help convince Kizer to come to the CFL and revive his career.

If Kizer came north he could be an intriguing quarterback on the bigger Canadian field.

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