Bombers covet experienced backup quarterback as Sean McGuire retires

Photo: Nik Kowalski/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are without a veteran backup quarterback after Sean McGuire became a free agent on Tuesday, which general manager Kyle Walters revealed is due at least in part to the fact that the 25-year-old passer was contemplating retirement.

“Sean McGuire’s currently exploring options outside of football to move on with his life, so that adds a twist. He showed some good things the last couple of years,” said Walters via conference call.

And McGuire has since decided to move on from football, embarking on a career in federal law enforcement, according to TSN reporter Dave Naylor

The Western Illinois product was Winnipeg’s third-string quarterback in 2019 before assuming the backup role behind Zach Collaros in 2021. He saw limited action this past season, making one late-season start against the Montreal Alouettes in which he threw one touchdown and four interceptions in poor weather.

Walters admitted that the club wants a veteran quarterback as their backup, though the market is limited.

“We were kind of kicking the tires. There’s just not a lot of — with the turnover at that position in this league — it’s tough to find one,” he said. “From a cost standpoint, we’d like to try to find somebody who’s got some CFL experience but those are few are far between.”

Michael O’Connor, Isaac Harker and Trevor Harris have signed with the B.C. Lions and Montreal Alouettes, respectively, leaving just two veteran free agent quarterbacks on the market: Matt Nichols and David Watford. Nichols is also reportedly considering retirement, while Watford is hardly a proven commodity.

Photo courtesy: Baltimore Ravens

One intriguing option is Chris Streveler, who is currently a free agent after finishing the 2021 season on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice roster. The dual-threat passer was essential to Winnipeg’s Grey Cup run in 2019, dominating the West Semi-Final with his legs and throwing a touchdown pass to Andrew Harris in the Grey Cup.

The issue is that Streveler would likely command more money than Winnipeg has available after bringing back most of its championship roster from 2021.

“He certainly would fit into our team. I don’t know if he would fit into our salary cap,” said Walters. “His agent made it perfectly clear to me — I wouldn’t hold any money aside with the hopes of Streveler coming back here, which works out well because we certainly don’t have any money to hold aside.”

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.