B.C. plans for QB Mike Reilly to be leading the Lions ‘towards victories all over the country’ in 2021

Photo courtesy: Jeff Vinnick/B.C. Lions

B.C. Lions co-general manager Neil McEvoy can see into 2021.

Franchise quarterback Mike Reilly is throwing touchdowns and stacking wins for the Leos from coast to coast in Canada.

Reilly filed a grievance against the Lions in September for guaranteed money owed to him by the franchise. According to 3DownNation insider Justin Dunk, when Reilly signed his contract worth $2.9 million in February 2019 — averaging $725,000 per season, which made him the highest-paid player in the CFL — there was additional paperwork that accompanied it.

“Mike Reilly does have a contract for 2021, and we have been in contact with Mike and we’ve been in contact with his representation,” McEvoy said on The Rod Pedersen Show.

“We’re confident as a team that Mike Reilly will be a B.C. Lion in 2021 and leading us towards victories all over the country.”

The two sides inked an agreement that guaranteed the veteran passer a sizeable portion of his salary — believed to be in the $250,000 range. There is no language or wording in the collective bargaining agreement that prohibits teams from guaranteeing cash to players.

No one could have foreseen a global pandemic coming — if a full football schedule had been played in 2020, the quarterback would have received the entire value of his contract. That wasn’t the case and it’s forced Reilly, backed by the CFL Players’ Association, to obtain the payment to which both sides agreed during contract negotiations.

Reilly started 16 games for the Lions last season, but his first year as the starter in B.C. was cut short due to a broken wrist. He passed for 3,897 yards, 20 touchdowns versus 15 interceptions while completing just under 70 percent of his attempts as the Lions went 5-13 and missed the playoffs in 2019.

“We were undefeated in 2020 so I enjoyed our football team,” McEvoy said while laughing. “We really focused on getting the offensive line better so we can protect Mike.”