Alouettes’ general manager Danny Maciocia says Vernon Adams Jr. requested a trade

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The Montreal Alouettes shipped quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. to the B.C. Lions earlier this week but the transaction was not a unilateral decision.

In an appearance on Melnick in the Afternoon, general manager Danny Maciocia confirmed to the hosts that Adams had triggered the move himself by requesting a trade.

“I speak to Vernon every single day and there are days where he comes into the office, and he expresses how he feels; that he feels like if there’s an opportunity out there for him to be a starting quarterback, it would be something that he’d like to entertain,” Maciocia explained. “That gained some momentum this week when he came in and said, ‘Hey, listen, can you just take a look at what’s out there?’ He says, ‘I know that teams have called.'”

Adams, who first ascended to the Alouettes’ starting job in 2019, had signed a two-year extension last offseason to remain the face of the franchise but seemed to have fallen out of favour with club management. A season-ending injury in 2021 opened the door for Trevor Harris to take over as quarterback and the veteran rental was retained in a surprise move, seemingly earning the favour of Maciocia.

It took less than six quarters of action in 2022 for Adams to be relegated to the sideline and the firing of head coach Khari Jones after four games sealed his face. Despite Maciocia’s clear preference for Harris once he took over as interim head coach, the Alouette’s shot-caller says he had not previously tried to move his backup.

“Teams had called and I’d just shut it down when they did call because he mentioned that he was comfortable here, he wanted to stay here, and he saw himself as an Alouette moving forward,” Maciocia insisted.

“But this week, he was in here and said, ‘Hey, just take a look,’ and I said, listen, I’ll do you one better than that. I’ll call up teams that did call up and see their level of interest. If we can verbally agree to something that I deem fair, before I pull the trigger, I’m going to put you in contact with them directly — you and your representative, your agent — and if you feel good about it and you tell me go, then I’ll sign off on it. And that’s exactly how it went down.”

Following the trade, reports surfaced that previous attempts by Maciocia to move his inconsistent former starter were vetoed by outspoken minority owner Gary Stern — who was forced to step away from the team’s day-to-day operations last week. The GM denies those allegations.

“No, it’s not true. Like everything else, we always ran whatever transaction, whatever moves we were contemplating, through Gary. We always kept him abreast because I think it’s good business; I don’t want Gary or anybody else with the football team to learn about it over the radio or in a cafe,” Maciocia insisted.

“Having said that, with VA, even when teams did call and what they were offering, we didn’t feel it was enough for us to pull the trigger and move him. More importantly, we would always speak to VA to see how he felt about it and at that point in time, there was no desire for him to leave Montreal.”

For Adams, the opportunity to take over for the injured Nathan Rourke with the Grey Cup-contending B.C. Lions was too good to pass up, especially given the proximity to his home in Tacoma, Washington. Meanwhile, Maciocia finally got the compensation he was looking for, deeming the first-round draft pick Montreal received in return to be “non-negotiable.”

Adams had been absent from the lineup since Week 8 with an elbow injury and his improved health likely prompted the trade request. However, a separation seemed inevitable given Harris’ iron grasp on the top job.

Despite that fact, Maciocia denies that the organization soured on their former quarterback. A rough patch of play, due in part to injuries, simply forced the team to move on.

“I think there’s a general consensus around here that we feel pretty comfortable with Trevor Harris,” Maciocia said. “Had VA still been here, he would have found himself on the roster at some point in time, but we’re fairly confident with Trevor.”