Suitor on Riders’ QBs: Trevor Harris potential ‘alternative’ to Cody Fajardo, Paxton Lynch ‘not good enough’ for CFL

Photo courtesy: TSN/Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television

There isn’t a position in the Canadian Football League that garners more attention than quarterback of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

With Cody Fajardo firmly established as starter and signed through 2022, most expect a quiet offseason for the Riders’ QB room. Not so for TSN colour commentator Glen Suitor, who sees quarterback as one of many areas that his old team should look to attack.

“If I’m looking at the Riders’ situation, I am looking at the market for sure,” Suitor told guest host Clayton Kroeker during his regular appearance on the SportsCage in in Regina.

“I’m seeing if even Trevor Harris would be a situation that could work. What’s his mindset and could he work as an alternative to Cody Fajardo?”

In Fajardo’s second season at the helm, the Rider’s offence seemed to struggle and the quarterback’s well-publicized struggles with the deep ball dominated the conversation. Rider’s general manager Jeremy O’Day gave his quarterback a vote of confidence after the team’s West Final loss to Winnipeg, but others around the league have questioned Fajardo’s strength as a passer, most notably former Riders’ head coach Chris Jones.

Harris, who began the 2021 season as starter in Edmonton before falling out of favour and being shipped to Montreal as a rental, was released by the Alouettes in December. If the Riders aren’t completely sold on Fajardo, the 2016 East All-Star could provide veteran insurance in a league where two starting caliber quarterbacks are a necessity, though 3Down’s John Hodge dubbed the pairing highly unlikely.

Nevertheless, the Riders will have questions at the backup position, with rookie Mason Fine surpassing Isaac Harker on the depth chart at the end of the year. Suitor believes that switch should be made permanent going forward, but there is another player in the conversation that the broadcaster absolutely does not want to see in the role: Paxton Lynch.

The former first round pick of the Denver Broncos spent the entire 2021 regular season on the Riders active roster or one-game injured list, but never ascended to the backup role. He left the team in the playoffs after being unable to travel due to his vaccination status, but Suitor has a somewhat harsher view of Lynch’s departure.

“Paxton Lynch didn’t make the team. I know that there was his vaccination status and things like that, but he didn’t make the team,” he said.

“I love it when people assume just because he was a first-round pick or because he came from the NFL, he’s automatically better and should be starting. He didn’t make it. He wasn’t good enough. He was beaten out by three or four different quarterbacks. End of sentence. That’s the reality.”

Many Riders fans are hoping to see Lynch back next year, vaccination status allowing, but Suitor has already made his assessment. He doesn’t need another season to further the Johnny Manziel comparisons.

“If he was good enough, he would’ve beat out Cody Fajardo. He wasn’t, end of story,” Suitor continued.

“It doesn’t matter if he came from the NFL, there are 15,000 and some graduating seniors coming out of the NCAA every year. They’re all great, but they’ve got to make that transition now to pro football, which is played 90% from the shoulders up. They’re all good athletes and they can all throw the ball through a brick wall, but what’s the difference? What separates them and how did they take the next step at the pro level? Can they do that?”

Suitor doesn’t believe Lynch can, leading him to look at other option to flesh out the QB room.