Alouettes QB Vernon Adams Jr. opts out of CFL contract to explore NFL opportunities

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

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. has opted out of his CFL contract to pursue NFL employment.

Adams Jr. signed a three-year extension in January, which means his CFL rights are held by Montreal through the 2022 season. He collected a $20,000 roster bonus plus $165,000 signing bonus already in 2020.

The rising CFL star posted a message to Als fans on his Twitter account:

I never planned on this being the scenario that unfolded for the ’20 season. For the last several years, I have done nothing but prepare to be the starting quarterback for this franchise and this city. 

With the news of the cancellation of our entire season, I was forced to examine all options to provide for my family. After doing so, I am electing to opt out of my contract for this season in order to pursue the possibility of gaining an NFL roster spot.

I want everyone who reads this to know that I am still completely committed to this franchise and city going forward, and that should no NFL opportunity materialize this year I WILL be returning to the Als in ’21 with the exact same goal in mind: let’s build a dynasty. 

Thank you guys for understanding. All love. 

VA

General manager Danny Maciocia 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 for the 2020 season after he 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 possible take home total rises even higher for possible compensation nearing $1 million.

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 last season. He was the East Division all-star quarterback in 2019.

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.

The 27-year-old went unselected in the 2016 NFL draft. Adams Jr. attended Seattle and Washington’s rookie mini-camps, but did not receive a contract offer from either team. However, it’s possible with recent game film and production in the CFL, Adams Jr. could attract NFL interest.

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