‘You can’t pay Matt Nichols that kind of money to be a backup’: Duke Ellingson

Ottawa Redblacks TSN 1200 radio analyst Duke Ellingson usually calls it how he sees it.

The former Rough Riders receiver has done exactly that with quarterback Matt Nichols. He’s been demoted to the backup role after his first three starts in the 2021 CFL season.

“I don’t think he’s long for this team. It’s not a knock on him as a player or as a person or as a leader or anything like that,” Ellingson said. “If it turns out that the Redblacks have lost confidence in him as the starter, you can’t pay him that kind of money to be a backup, especially when he’s so limited.”

Nichols signed a two-year contract through the 2022 season in January. He earned a $200,000 report and pass bonus in July. The rest of his compensation this year calls for a pro-rated base salary of $105,000 and $12,000 in housing, which totals $317,000.

“Now the other side of it is if he is actually injured, that changes the equation in terms of being able to release him. I just don’t think he’s got much lifespan left on this team,” Ellingson said.

The 34-year-old Nichols has completed 65 percent of his passes for 476 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions in parts of four games — three full outings and one quarter — with the Redblacks.

The 11-year veteran has passed for 18,839 yards, 108 touchdowns, and 63 interceptions while completing 66 percent of his attempts. He’s also recorded 144 carries for 628 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground en route to a 46-31 win-loss record as a starter.

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