Blue Bombers interested in reunion with QB Chris Streveler, lament cap crunch

Photo courtesy: Baltimore Ravens

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have had preliminary discussions with Chris Streveler regarding a potential reunion, though the dual-threat quarterback is currently focused on his career south of the border.

“Chris is still gonna explore the NFL, I think, for a few more weeks,” said general manager Kyle Walters via videoconference. “He really hasn’t expressed anything other than, ‘I’m going to focus on the NFL right now.'”

The 27-year-old is currently a free agent after finishing the 2021 NFL season on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice roster. Streveler saw action with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10 and completed six-of-nine pass attempts for 36 yards in relief of veteran Colt McCoy, although he was released one week later.

Winnipeg recently made Zach Collaros the highest-paid player in the CFL and are reportedly set to pay him $550,000 in 2022. With the league’s reigning Most Outstanding Player firmly entrenched as the starter, it’s safe to assume that Streveler would be used as a backup and/or utility player if he were to return to Bomberland.

When asked if it would be possible to sign Streveler under the salary cap, Walters indicated that would be depend upon the extent to which other teams covet his services.

“If someone wants to throw some starter-calibre money at Chris, then 100 percent we would not be able to afford him,” said Walters.

Justin Dunk reported in December that Ottawa Redblacks’ head coach Paul LaPolice wants Streveler to be his starting quarterback in 2022. The pair were together in Winnipeg for two seasons (2018-19) during which the dual-threat quarterback helped lead the Blue Bombers to a Grey Cup title.

The six-foot-one, 216-pound passer had arguably the best game of his career in the 2019 West Semi-Final during which he ran for 82 yards and a touchdown despite playing with a fracture in his ankle. He made another big play two weeks later when he threw a touchdown pass to Andrew Harris in the Grey Cup.

Streveler has completed 64.7 percent of his career CFL pass attempts for 2,698 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions. He struggled to move the ball through the air at times during his tenure with Winnipeg, but his size, athleticism, and versatility make him an elite playmaker in certain packages.

The South Dakota product spent the 2020 season with the Arizona Cardinals and served as the primary backup to former No. 1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray. He completed 11-of-16 pass attempts for 105 yards, one touchdown, and one interception while also carrying the ball four times for 15 yards in spot duty.

Winnipeg dressed Sean McGuire as their backup quarterback in 2021 and he struggled in limited action, completing 13-of-33 pass attempts for 204 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. The Western Illinois product remains a pending free agent, while third-stringer Dru Brown has re-signed for 2022.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.