The darling of the 2019 CFL season, Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Cody Fajardo, has been installed as the pre-season favourite to win the league’s Most Outstanding Player award.
Fajardo has raised expectations for himself and his team following a 13-5 campaign, which earned the Riders first place after the regular season in the West Division. He led the three-down league with 4,302 passing yards and guided the Green and White to the franchise’s highest win total since 1970, but his accolades came with Matt Nichols, Bo Levi Mitchell, Trevor Harris, Zach Collaros, and Mike Reilly unable to complete full seasons due to injury.
Over 600 days will have passed since the last CFL game by the time the 2021 season kicks off on August 5. That’s more than enough time for the quarterbacks and all players across the league to have healed and be fully prepared for the return of football in Canada.
14 regular season games are scheduled for each team and with heightened importance comes a higher level of play — similar to playoff football — every week. Competition for the Grey Cup and prestigious individual awards could be at an all-time best.
The CFL’s version of the Most Valuable Player award has been given out to one elite player since 1953. Bodog Canada has produced odds for the sprint to be immortalized in league history as the individual who captures the CFL MOP award in 2021. The available players to bet on are sure to change as the season progresses, but there are six to start.
1) Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback, Cody Fajardo +200
Only three Riders have ever won the league’s MOP trophy: Kerry Joseph, Ron Lancaster, and George Reed. That’s it, that’s the list.
Fajardo was the West Division Most Outstanding Player in 2019 and everyone wants to know if the 29-year-old can back-up his rise to stardom.
2) Calgary Stampeders quarterback, Bo Levi Mitchell +300
Mitchell has won two CFL MOP awards, 2016 and 2018. He led the league in touchdowns passes both times with 32 and 35 respectively while throwing for over 5,000 yards each time.
The star is fully healed from his right arm, shoulder, and pectoral injuries and ready to resume his gunslinger ways.
3) Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive lineman, Willie Jefferson +300
The reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player is a problem for opposing offences and it’s possible the best has yet to come from the freaky athletic defensive end.
No defensive lineman has ever won the CFL MOP award. Surefire Canadian Football Hall of Fame linebacker Solomon Elimimian is the only pure defensive player to ever win it.
4) Toronto Argonauts linebacker, Henoc Muamba, +350
In 2019, the ratio-breaking defender captured the Most Outstanding Canadian award.
Unless Muamba puts up historic numbers, the Argos should be hoping for an offensive player to earn the team nomination.
5) Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver and returner, Brandon Banks +400
Speedy B is the CFL’s unquestioned most explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands, although no pass catcher has ever won back-to-back MOP awards.
Anthony Calvillo, Doug Flutie, Dieter Brock, and Jackie Parker are the only players in CFL history to win the league’s top individual award two straight years.
6) B.C. Lions quarterback, Michael Reilly +600
The 2017 CFL MOP led the league in passing touchdowns and rushing majors on the way to capturing the award.
Reilly has the weapons but the Lions offensive line must protect him for any chance to earn the award for a second time.