Chris Jones won’t clarify Edmonton’s QB situation: ‘Every single job is gonna be challenged’

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Edmonton Elks’ head coach and general manager Chris Jones declined to provide clarity on his team’s quarterbacking situation despite recently restructuring Nick Arbuckle’s contract to include $100,000 in guaranteed money.

“We’re gonna be evaluating every position. Every position that we have is gonna be a competitive position. There’s nothing that’s gonna to be given to anybody. [Jake Ceresna] is a heck of a three technique, but guess what? His job is gonna be challenged. Every single job is gonna be challenged,” said Jones via videoconference.

“It’s pro football, so nothing is given. I know everybody likes to have assurances and all this kind of stuff but when you start having too many assurances, people get too comfortable, so that ain’t happening.”

Edmonton acquired Arbuckle in a trade with the Toronto Argonauts on Oct. 26 in exchange for a conditional draft pick and the rights to negotiation list quarterback Chad Kelly. Arbuckle was re-signed by then-GM Brock Sunderland, though Jones has subsequently renegotiated the deal to include some guaranteed money.

Arbuckle completed 62.7 percent of his pass attempts for 1,158 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions over seven games with the Argos in 2021. He has thrown for 3,405 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions over the course of his three-year CFL career while rushing for an additional 174 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Veteran quarterback Trevor Harris is already a free agent, while Jeremiah Masoli, Zach Collaros, Dominique Davis, Matt Nichols, and McLeod Bethel-Thompson are pending free agents who have already started a relatively large number of CFL games. Edmonton also has Taylor Cornelius and Dakota Prukop under contract as holdovers from 2021.

Jones also confirmed that defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe is no longer with the organization despite originally being under contract for the 2022 season.

Edmonton’s new coaching staff includes Anthony Vitale as the offensive line coach and Brandon Isaac as the defensive backs coach, while Demetrious Maxie and Cam Robinson have remained on as defensive line coach and linebackers coach, respectively.

Jones also indicated that he has hired a special teams coordinator, though an announcement will not be made until a later date.

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.