Alouettes’ Trevor Harris has over $100,000 riding on beating out Vernon Adams Jr. for starting QB job

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The Alouettes unexpectedly re-signed Trevor Harris after letting him explore free agency and there are over six figures on the line for him if he earns the starting job in Montreal.

Harris had interest from multiple teams, including another in the East Division, but ultimately decided to return to La Belle Province, where he finished the 2021 regular season with eight touchdowns against two interceptions while quickly learning and becoming comfortable in Khari Jones’ offence.

He signed a one-year contract worth $130,000 in hard money, with $96,000 available in playtime bonuses and another $15,000 unlocked by leading the Als in touchdown passes. The six-foot-three, 212-pound QB can earn $3,944.45 per game for playing 51 percent of the offensive plays and an additional $25,000 should he play the majority of snaps in six games.

That’s plenty of monetary incentive for Harris to beat out Vernon Adams Jr. to be the starter in Montreal. He specifically chose going back to the Alouettes in a year where the veteran passer needs to bounce back in a major way to regain value for his next contract.

The 35-year-old is a calculated individual and his choice to sign with Montreal over other franchises shows us he believes it’s the best spot to find a pathway to playing time. The fact general manager Danny Maciocia was willing to part with a promising young pass rusher, Antonio Simmons, in mid-October for Harris proves he likes the experienced pivot and believes in his abilities.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason why Adams Jr. has $46,000 tied to being the starter on the active game day roster. The 29-year-old must be QB1 to collect $2,555.55 per game throughout the regular season. And his $190,000 signing bonus for the 2022 season went on last year’s salary cap, which means going with Harris would not impact Montreal as much financially.

The TB12 Method follower wants to play until the age of 45 and for Harris to be able to accomplish that feat he needs to continue to rid the stench of general manager Brock Sunderland and head coach Jaime Elizondo. The pair made him the scapegoat for a terrible season in Edmonton that did not have much to do with the former Elks starter.

Whether Adams Jr. likes it or not — the initial indication based on the dual-threat quarterback’s Twitter account was he didn’t like the fact the Als re-upped Harris — there will be competition from a more proven QB. Harris has four seasons on his resume over 4,000 yards passing, including one that went over 5,000, while Adams Jr. came close once in his only full year as a starter.

Being six years younger does make Adams Jr. more attractive, but top tier passers have shown on both sides of the border it’s possible to play high calibre football into their late 30’s and 40’s. Admittedly, Harris must prove he can stay healthy for an entire season, but either way the Als QB situation is the most intriguing to watch out of any in the entire league.

Harris has become used to earning $400,000 or $500,000 per season and must be on the field to put himself back among the highest-paid players in the CFL.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.