The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are embracing a real quarterback competition between Jeremiah Masoli and Dane Evans and upfront money won’t be a factor.
The Ticats gave Masoli a $125,000 signing bonus to re-up with the team in January, part of a one-year contract worth $350,000. Evans received a $25,000 signing bonus to restructure his contract in January 2020, but does not have any guaranteed money on the books for this year.
“The money is not a factor — that won’t play into it at all,” head coach Orlondo Steinauer said in a videoconference. “It’s going to be a competition and that’s just what it’s going to be. They’re aware of that and we have a great plan between Tommy Condell and myself.”
The disparity between the two contracts has led to speculation that Masoli is guaranteed the starting job, but Steinauer asserts that the starting job will be decided on the field. The 48-year-old bench boss stated both quarterbacks will get close to the same amount of reps in training camp.
“They’re going to compete, they’re each other’s best supporter, and this isn’t lip-service because if you sit down and talk to them you’re going to find the same answers. Money won’t play a factor in our decision,” Steinauer said.
The CFL’s reigning Coach of the Year also wouldn’t speculate on whether or not the team will employ a tandem quarterback approach in 2021 with Masoli and Evans rotating during games.
“We’re going to do whatever gives us the best chance to win. We’re going to see them compete. There’s always a possibility to use both. There’s a possibility we’ll use one the whole time and that’s just where we’re taking it,” Steinauer said.
Masoli led the Ticats to a 5-1 record to start the 2019 season before suffering a torn ACL against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in August. He completed 125-of-175 pass attempts for 1,576 yards, nine touchdowns, and seven interceptions in those games, also rushing for 79 yards and four scores.
“You bring in competition everywhere else, it’s just not as common at the quarterback position,” Steinauer said.
Evans took over as the started the next eleven games, posting a 9-2 record and helping Hamilton lock-up the No. 1 spot in the East Division. He completed 298-of-413 pass attempts for 3,754 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
“To each team their own opinion on if it’s a two quarterback league. For me, I think it’s important that you have two that are ready to play, and if you can somebody that has done it before — we’re in a unique situation,” Steinauer said.
“In my opinion, it’s the most important position on the football field. As long as I’m in charge, we’re always going to press to have two that can play football and that have experience.”