‘You never know’: Alouettes’ quarterback Trevor Harris ‘excited’ for free agency process

Photo: Matthew Johnson/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The Montreal Alouettes have found their head coach in Jason Maas but they are still waiting to lock up their quarterback.

Veteran signal caller Trevor Harris is scheduled to hit free agency in February and while most expect the 36-year-old to stay in the La Belle Province, he is playing his cards close to the vest.

“I’m just excited to see how this free-agent process plays out,” Harris said during an appearance on TSN 690’s Campbell vs Gallo this week.

“I’m obviously very thankful and grateful for the organization in Montreal and appreciate how Danny has really handled me and he’s kept me abreast as to the moves going on and knowing ahead of time. He’s been very awesome about it so I’m a big admirer of Danny Maciocia, I love Jason Maas but obviously, you never know how the free agency process is going to play out.”

After a season in which he threw for 4,157 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while leading the Alouettes to their first post-season win in eight years, re-signing Harris should be a top priority for Maciocia. However, negotiations couldn’t truly get underway until the team’s head coaching vacancy was filled and a vision for the offence determined.

That has now been rectified by the hiring of Maas, a candidate whom Harris is very familiar with after he served as his quarterbacks coach with the Toronto Argonauts.

“We both kind of cut our teeth as players and coaches together, per se. He had his first year as coach and I got my first year as a player together and we grew a lot,” Harris recalled.

“I know that we align a lot in terms of our work ethic and our mindset and the way that we see the game, both learning under Scott (Milanovich), his first year as a coach and mine as a player, and it’s just been fun to watch Coach Maas grow through the years and become a head coach, a successful head coach at that, going to three conference finals in his four years as a head coach and then getting another opportunity here in Montreal with the Als.”

Despite that familiarity, Harris has learned to not take his employment for granted. The rocky road he’s travelled across the CFL over the last few years has taught him that nothing can be assumed — a message that might give fans night terrors ahead of free agency.

“It always comes down to supply and demand but at the same time, you just never know. A lot of times I think we assume things in life,” the quarterback explained. “I thought in 2018 there was no way in heck after we went to the Grey Cup in Ottawa and we won the East Final that I didn’t think I wouldn’t be back in Ottawa. And I ended up not going back. I thought I was 99.9 percent sure I was back.”

“In 2021 (with Edmonton), I had a familiar face as head coach (in Jaime Elizondo), I love Brock Sunderland still to this day, and never in a million years would I have thought I got traded. And so I’m just done assuming what’s gonna happen.”

Should Harris test the open market, there is certain to be interest from several quarterback-needy franchises, namely the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That should drive up the pivot’s price tag in negotiations, as will his connection with star receiver Eugene Lewis.

Arguably the league’s best pass catcher, Lewis is also slated to hit free agency this offseason and has been vocal about his uncertainty around returning to Montreal. As to whether he will be able to draw his favourite target in with him wherever he signs, Harris played coy.

“Geno and I have talked,” he said. “We’ve been in constant communication but we’ll kind of just see how this plays out.”

The one destination that doesn’t appear to be on the table for the 10-year veteran is retirement, as Harris believes he has plenty more to give after bringing the Als within a drive of a Grey Cup berth.

“I’m at a stage of my career where if I’m not putting a team and a fan base in a position where they feel like they have a chance to win a Grey Cup, then I’m going to hang them up. And I feel like my best three, four years are directly in front of me,” Harris insisted.

“I felt like I was playing good football toward the end of the year last year and I want to make sure that I’m able to do that. And as long as I can do that and look myself in the mirror and say we’ve got a chance to win in this thing, I’m playing.”