14 months ago, Vernon Adams Jr.’s CFL journey was on the cusp of coming to an end with the Montreal Alouettes.
His barnstorming tour took him to various parts of Canada, including a stint at receiver in Hamilton. All Adams Jr. required was a chance to showcase his skills at quarterback. And after Antonio Pipkin went down in the 2019 season opener versus Edmonton, he took the opportunity and has not relinquished the quarterback job.
Adams Jr. signed a contract extension that made him the face of the Alouettes franchise. However, the allure of the NFL has tickled his spidey senses to give it one more chance and be at peace if nothing materializes from this expedition.
Adams Jr. has never shied away from saying what is on his mind. Prior to the 2016 NFL draft he spoke to American national radio host, Dan Patrick, and said that he was a better quarterback than the eventual number one overall pick, Jared Goff. Now we’ll find out if there’s a market for his services.
There are three major questions on what the future holds for Adams Jr.
1) Should CFL fans be upset at Adams Jr.’s decision?
Absolutely not. Everyone needs to make a living. Ask any American-born CFL player and they will express that their dream is to play in the NFL.
At age 27, Adams Jr. is in the prime of his career and has a chance to get one more shot to realize his NFL fantasy. Surveying the depth charts of all 32 NFL teams, he will need to remain patient for an opportunity.
Football is a meat grinder sport and this would have been in the back of his mind had he not taken one more leap of faith for a chance to be on an NFL roster.
2) Does Adams Jr. stick on an NFL roster?
The unexpected timing by the CFL to erase the 2020 season has everyone scrambling.
For Adams Jr. to plunge into the NFL waters with less than two weeks until the regular season may require perseverance as he waits for a bite from an NFL team in need of a quarterback.
It’s possible that his agent has gathered intel that suggests there’s a market for him, but that might depend on if a quarterback does go down with an early-season injury. It has happened in past opening weeks. Last year, it was Nick Foles with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2008, Tom Brady went down with a season-ending knee injury.
At the 2016 East-West Shrine Bowl game, Las Vegas Raiders’ general manager Mike Mayock spoke glowingly about Adams Jr. and his potential at the next level. The Raiders have CFL connections with Erik Harris as an incumbent starter at safety, Nick Usher fighting for a roster spot at defensive end, and William Stanback having recently been released.
One CFL connection between an NFL organization and Adams Jr. is the Cleveland Browns and Chris Jones who, during the 2017 season, acquired and coached the passer in Saskatchewan. The fact that Jones gave up Canadian defensive back Tevaughn Campbell and two draft picks for Adams Jr. shows he saw potential in the quarterback.
With first-year Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski implementing an offence based on tight end formations and an emphasis on the ground game, it would be tailor-made to Adams Jr. and his strengths.
Looking at the Browns quarterback depth chart beyond starter Baker Mayfield, it is Case Keenum, Garrett Gilbert, and Kevin Davidson. With a young, progressive thinker in new general manager Andrew Berry, he could see this as an opportunity to unearth the next CFL diamond in the shape of Jeff Garcia.
3) What is the next move for the Montreal Alouettes with the unknown destination for Adams Jr.?
Absolutely nothing. Adams Jr. said in his social media post that if nothing materializes, he will be back in Montreal as the Alouettes starting quarterback in 2021.
However, it does enable general manager Danny Maciocia to go trawling at the quarterback position that has been a conveyor belt of names for the franchise since the Anthony Calvillo days.
Adams Jr. helped revive the Als’ winning ways in 2019, but top CFL teams have depth at the pivot position. The best examples of this would be Hamilton, Calgary and Winnipeg with each team fielding at two successful starters one year ago.
For Adams Jr., the dream of being an NFL quarterback was too good pass up on — especially in the COVID-19 world — as he looks to add another chapter to his remarkable pro football story.