Sunderland: Elks, Arbuckle discussing contract extension following trade

Edmonton Elks’ general manager Brock Sunderland told the media that his team has started negotiating a contract extension with recently-acquired quarterback Nick Arbuckle.

“I think he’s ready to settle down. He’s got a young family, they’re familiar with Alberta. He was pretty eager and excited to get out here. I had a great conversation with him and I think he’s going to fit in this city and this locker room really well,” said Sunderland.

Arbuckle was acquired from the Toronto Argonauts on Tuesday in exchange for a conditional 2022 CFL Draft pick and the rights to negotiation list quarterback Chad Kelly. His contract is worth $270,000 in hard money in 2021, though it is set to expire in February 2022.

Sunderland indicated that the Elks had been in contact with multiple teams regarding a number of quarterbacks over the past two weeks. He indicated that negotiations with the Argos intensified following Toronto’s 37-16 loss to the Montreal Alouettes on Friday.

“We think that he can be a very productive starter that you can win with. Watched every game he’s ever played going back to Calgary plus the Toronto games this year and feel really good about him,” said Sunderland.

“Very accurate. Can make all the throws. He’s won some big games. He’s proven he can move and manipulate the pocket with his feet while keeping his eyes downfield. He takes what the defence gives him very well.”

Arbuckle went 4-3 as the starter with Calgary in 2019 while Bo Levi Mitchell was out due to injury. He went 2-2 as the starting quarterback in Toronto this year, completing 62.7 percent of his passes for 1,158 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions.

Sunderland indicated that rookie Taylor Cornelius remains the team’s starting quarterback, suggesting that Arbuckle hasn’t been guaranteed anything other than an opportunity to compete for the starting job.

“We have full confidence in Taylor (Cornelius). We have full confidence in Dakota (Prukop). What we’ve said, we’ve meant. We believe in those guys, we think we can win with those guys. The other reality is in this league it’s been proven that you need more than one good quarterback to win,” said the veteran general manager.

“That’ll be determined by how the quarterbacks play collectively. They’re going to determine who the starter is. We’re always going to play the best quarterback that gives us the best chance to win whoever that is.”

The trade for Arbuckle was Edmonton’s second such move in as many weeks, having dealt quarterback Trevor Harris to the Alouettes following their Week 11 loss to Winnipeg. Sunderland denied that the two moves were connected despite them involving the same position and taking place within a similar timeframe.

“This had nothing to do with Trevor,” said Sunderland. “That trade was made completely exclusive of this trade.”

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