Six reasons why the Calgary Stampeders shouldn’t trade Bo Levi Mitchell until the offseason

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

After the Calgary Stampeders announced a contract extension for Jake Maier that will keep him in Cowtown through the 2024 season, it became immediately clear that Bo Levi Mitchell will not be back with the team next year.

This immediately led to online speculation that Mitchell could be dealt ahead of the CFL’s trade deadline on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

While it seems unlikely that Stampeders’ general manager John Hufnagel is considering a trade at this point — Mitchell hasn’t asked for one — that hasn’t stopped fans on social media from discussing how soon the future Hall of Fame quarterback could be wearing another team’s colours.

Here are six reasons why I don’t think Mitchell is going anywhere until the season is over.

1. Experience

Mitchell has won two Grey Cups as a starter with the latter coming as recently as 2018. He knows what it takes to win and will be an invaluable resource to Maier as a support system who can speak from recent experience. Mitchell should also be ready to step in in case Maier falters under the playoff pressure, seamlessly reentering an offense that was designed around his skillset.

2. Leadership

Mitchell is still a captain for this team and he remains committed to helping them win. He gives out the game balls after every victory and leads them through their postgame rituals. He arrives early every day to study film and prepare for his weekly opponent. After a decade in Calgary, Mitchell remains firmly entrenched in the team’s social hierarchy and has shown no signs of becoming a distraction in the locker room.

3. Jam

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” is a good expression but it was written long before Bo Levi Mitchell strapped a truck load of chips on his shoulder. Mitchell has always been at his best when he feels motivated to correct a perceived slight, which is why the Stampeders shouldn’t risk the possibility of playing against Mitchell in the postseason. Remember when Henry Burris played one of the best games in CFL history to upset the Stampeders in the 2016 Grey Cup? Nobody in Calgary wants a repeat of that.

4. Injuries

It’s not unprecedented for CFL teams to lose their starting quarterback to injury in the playoffs and go on to lose a Grey Cup they were favoured to win: just ask the 2007 Winnipeg Blue Bombers or 2012 Calgary Stampeders. In fact, a fresh-faced Mitchell came in and threw the Stampeders’ only touchdown pass of that game in 2012. Calgary’s front office has a long memory and are unlikely to put all their faith in Tommy Stevens — who has only two career completions — as “the plan” should Maier get injured.

5. Limited return

No other team will have any interest in making the Stampeders better heading into the playoffs, so it seems reasonable to assume that Mitchell would yield a better return in the offseason. Hufnagel has never been shy of making trades and most recently secured a first-round pick for the expiring contract of Nick Arbuckle. If Arbuckle fetched that price in the offseason, Mitchell’s exclusive negotiating rights should be worth even more.

6. It’s the Stampeders

Calgary has made the playoffs for 17 straight years, which is the longest active streak in all of North American professional sports. For context, the CFL’s second-longest streak belongs to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at just six years. The reason the Stampeders always get invited to the dance is they don’t do dumb things. Getting rid of Bo Levi Mitchell right now, regardless of what comes back the other way, would be dumb.

I’ve been wrong before in this space — and I am positive I will be wrong again in the future — but on this, I remain very confident: Bo Levi Mitchell will be on the Red and White’s roster when the final whistle blows on the 2022 Stampeders.

Ryan Ballantine is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.