Six quarterback moves the Ottawa Redblacks could make following Jeremiah Masoli’s injury

Photo: Timothy Matwey/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

After losing second year pro Tyrie Adams to an ACL injury following a low hit from Jake Ceresna and having veteran Jeremiah Masoli go down with a non-contact injury against Hamilton, the Ottawa Redblacks suddenly find themselves with just two healthy players at the game’s most important position.

It’s practically unheard of for a team to lose two starting quarterbacks to season-ending injuries within the span of a week, but that’s likely the situation general manager Shawn Burke is facing.

When facing a similar situation last year, Burke was aggressive, trading a fourth-round pick in the 2023 CFL Draft to Edmonton for Nick Arbuckle. With that in mind, here are six moves the Redblacks could make to shore up their depth behind rookie Dustin Crum and Arbuckle.

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Sign McLeod Bethel-Thompson

The 35-year-old is by far the most experienced passer on the market as has started 46 career CFL games, all with the Toronto Argonauts, and thrown for over 13,000 yards.

Following last season’s Grey Cup win, Bethel-Thompson  signed with the USFL’s New Orleans Breakers in order to be closer to family. MBT led the Breakers to a 7-3 record and led the league in passing yards before losing in the first round of the playoffs.

Given his reasons for leaving the CFL after last season, it’s hard to see veteran pivot returning to Canada, let alone for a team that isn’t the Argos. With that said, if Burke were able to entice the two-time Grey Cup champion to Ottawa, it would provide instant credibility and proven production to the position.

Sign Michael O’Connor

The Orleans, Ont. native has been without a team since the B.C. Lions let his contact expire this past winter. The 27-year-old only started one game in 2022, going 15-of-27 for 157 yards and an interception before exiting the game in the second quarter with a groin injury.

Following a distinguished university career at UBC that saw him throw for nearly 10,000 yards and 61 touchdowns and win a Vanier Cup championship, O’Connor was selected in the third round of the 2019 CFL Draft by the Argos.

Although the Canadian pivot has bounced around the CFL since, spending a single season with each of Toronto, Calgary and B.C., a reunion with his hometown team makes sense in that unlike some others on this list, he wouldn’t cost the Redblacks any assets to acquire and has significant experience with the Canadian game.

Bring back Jake Dunniway

The 24-year-old Tracy, Calif. native was in training camp with the Redblacks, appearing in the team’s final preseason game against the Argos. Dunniway only played a handful of series in the fourth quarter but completed four of his five pass attempts for 28 yards.

The main benefit of bringing back the Sacramento State product is that he would already be familiar with Ottawa’s playbook and receiving corps. Having some existing chemistry with the team’s pass-catchers wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

Trade for Tre Ford

Is this option the most realistic course for the Redblacks to pursue? No. Am I including this option because I’m sick of watching the Elks’ offence struggle while someone with Ford’s pedigree is buried on the depth chart? Yes.

After being selected eighth overall in the 2022 CFL Draft out of the University of Waterloo, the 24-year-old appeared in three games and finished his rookie season by completing 58 percent of his passes for 461 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. He also had 19 carries for 149 yards.

The six-foot, 185-pound passer would be an intriguing fit in the nation’s capital because his mobility is similar to that of Dustin Crum’s and given that offensive coordinator Khari Jones will presumably be tailoring his playbook to Crum’s strengths, having two quarterbacks of a similar mold would be useful.

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Sign Tyrrell Pigrome

Following a pair of electric preseason performances, the 25-year-old native of Birmingham, Ala. made the Blue Bombers roster as their third-string quarterback. Pigrome dressed for the team’s first three regular season games before being released when Winnipeg re-signed veteran Dakota Prukop following a stint in the USFL.

Pigrome boasts incredible speed, breaking a number of long runs in the preseason, and wasn’t afraid to push the ball down the field either.

The five-foot-ten, 200-pound rookie would obviously be a work in progress but, like Ford, he would provide offensive coordinator Khari Jones another player with a similar skillset to Crum to groom.

Trade for Dane Evans

This option was saved for last because it’s the most unlikely. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense from the Lions’ perspective to trade Evans and be one injury away from the situation in which the Redblacks currently find themselves. However, everything has a price.

For Ottawa, swinging a deal for Evans makes a ton of sense given his experience, Burke’s familiarity with the player from their time together in Hamilton and the fact that the 29-year-old would be a plug-and-play acquisition. If this trade happened today, he’d probably be starting for the team on Saturday when Ottawa hosts the Blue Bombers.

Santino Filoso is originally from Ottawa and has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know).