Saskatchewan Roughriders’ general manager Jeremy O’Day gave a lighthearted response when asked by local reporter Murray McCormick if his team will pursue a trade for Calgary Stampeders’ quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell before the deadline on Wednesday.
“We haven’t had any conversations with Calgary for Bo Levi and to be honest, if we did I probably wouldn’t be addressing it to the media,” O’Day told the media in Regina with a chuckle on Tuesday.
Mitchell was recently demoted to a backup role in Calgary with second-year quarterback Jake Maier taking over the starting job. He has since earned a contract extension tying him to Calgary through the 2024 season after completing 74.9 percent of his passes for 1,589 yards, ten touchdowns, and three interceptions over the past six games, casting Mitchell’s future with the team in doubt.
There are plenty of reasons for the Stampeders not to trade Mitchell and the two-time CFL M.O.P. has not requested a trade, though he’s aware that teams have inquired regarding his services. Mitchell is expected to be with a new team in 2023 and 3DownNation‘s Justin Dunk has reported that Saskatchewan is expected to be the front-runner for his services.
Mitchell’s numbers in Calgary weren’t elite this year — he completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 2,010 yards, nine touchdowns, and six interceptions — but he went 6-3 as a starter and has a well-documented history of winning in the CFL.
Riders’ franchise quarterback Cody Fajardo is a pending free agent and knows that a contract extension is one of the things he’s fighting for over the next several weeks. The 30-year-old is 6-8 as a starter this year having completed 69.7 percent of his passes for 3,101 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
“[Fajardo]’s had a challenging year, much like our team,” said O’Day. “He’s battled through injury this season with having a big knee brace on his knee. Moving around and him running with the football is a big part of his game, so it makes it difficult when you’re not able to do all the things you’re normally capable of. But I think Cody has been playing at a pretty high level the last number of weeks and I think that he’s given us a chance to win.”
The Riders are under a lot of pressure to succeed in the playoffs given that the Grey Cup is set to be played in Regina for the first time since 2013. The team can finish no higher than fourth place in the West Division, leaving the crossover as their last remaining opportunity to reach the postseason.
O’Day indicated that he did not anticipate his team would be making any trades before the deadline, “barring something that changes at the last minute.” The CFL’s trade deadline is set for Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. EDT.