Riders add free agent NFL quarterback Cody Kessler to negotiation list

Photo courtesy: Cleveland Browns

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have added current free agent NFL quarterback Cody Kessler on their exclusive negotiation list, per sources.

The six-foot-one, 215-pound Kessler was added by the Riders on February 19, 2021. The 27-year-old spent the entire 2020 season out of the NFL.

The Cleveland Browns selected Kessler in the third round, 93rd overall during the 2016 NFL Draft. He played in nine games, starting eight for the Browns as a rookie after injuries to Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown. Kessler completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,380 yards with six touchdowns versus two interceptions, posting a QB rating of 92.3.

In March of 2018, Cleveland traded Kessler to Jacksonville for a seventh round draft pick. That season he played in five games, starting four, for the Jaguars. Kessler connected on 64.9 percent of his passes for 709 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

After Kessler was released by the Jags in May 2019, the Eagles signed him to a contract. However, following a concussion in the pre-season, Philadelphia waived him during the final training camp roster cuts. The New England Patriots signed Kessler for the remainder of that season.

Kessler was highly touted coming out of the University of Southern California. He spent four seasons with the Trojans, starting at quarterback for three years. Over 41 NCAA starts, Kessler completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 10,339 yards with 88 touchdowns against 19 interceptions, compiling a 27-14 win-loss record.

After deciding to enter the NFL Draft, Kessler was invited to the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. The Bakersfield, CA native earned just under $3 million during his time in the NFL. Kessler was the California Gatorade Football Player of the Year in 2010 while starring for the Centennial High School Golden Hawks.

Riders assistant general manager Paul Jones has relationships throughout the United States and he’s been responsible for bringing a number of former NFL players north of the border who fit the current CFL style of play. It’s plausible Jones has a hand in Kessler being added to the neg list, which might lead to his eventual signing.

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