Riders QB Cody Fajardo will not opt out of contract, despite NFL interest

Photo courtesy: Matt Smith CFL.ca

CFL players may have been given the option to opt out of their contracts after the cancellation of the 2020 season, but Saskatchewan quarterback Cody Fajardo will not be one to do so.

The breakout star of the 2019 CFL season signed a massive contract extension in October which would have paid him $412,000 in hard money — if the 2020 season had gone ahead. The deal runs through 2021, with a slight pay increase next year.

“Riders QB Cody Fajardo says he is not going to opt out despite five or six NFL teams reaching out to him during the 2019 season,” CJME reporter Britton Gray tweeted Friday. “Says they were talking to him before he signed the extension.”

The CFLPA announced Wednesday that it had secured Canadian Employment Wage Subsidy money for the players, but also negotiated an opt out for players on expiring contracts who wanted to pursue NFL opportunities. While Fajardo would not have qualified for the initial clause, the PA also stated that the deal was not finalized and they would be seeking opt out provisions for players on multi-year deals in negotiations over the coming days. If that was added to the deal, Fajardo would have been free to explore other opportunities.

Entering last season Fajardo had never started a professional football game. He was a backup and short yardage specialist with the Toronto Argonauts and B.C Lions to begin his CFL career. General manager Jeremy O’Day and head coach Craig Dickenson saw the potential in Fajardo.

Fajardo led the Riders to a 12-4 record throwing for a CFL-leading 4,302 yards while completing over 71 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns against eight interceptions in his first season as a No. 1 QB. The dual-threat pivot used his legs for 611 yards and 10 touchdowns on 107 rushing attempts, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He was named the West Division Most Outstanding Player after he came within a goalpost of taking the green and white to the Grey Cup.

Fajardo produced and it appears he will be staying in Regina, regardless of the option to leave.