It was the biggest move of the off-season, and it left many fans and followers of the league asking the same question: what were the Eskimos thinking?
Less than a month after the conclusion of the 2011 season, Edmonton traded the face of their franchise for the past decade, Ricky Ray, to the Toronto Argonauts for a borderline starter in Steven Jyles, a kicker, and a second-overall draft pick.
But after the bye week period, with Jyles coming off his best game with the green and gold and Ray struggling again with inconsistent play the week before, it may be time to re-evaluate the Ray to Toronto trade.
That isn't to going so far as to say the Eskimos are the winners of the off-season swap, but rather to say it was one of those rare trades that worked out well for both teams – you know, just like Toronto and Edmonton insisted at the time, and we refused to believe.
First, a simple look at the teams' records suggests a win-win situation. The Eskimos are tied atop the West Division standings alongside everyone's pre-season favourites, the BC Lions, while the Argonauts are also in a tie for first in the East after sitting at 1-5 this time last year.
Looking at the two quarterbacks' stats through six games, the difference in overall effectiveness isn't as large as may be perceived. While Ray has a higher completion percentage and has thrown for significantly more yards, Jyles has played a lower-risk game and has thrown just three interceptions to Ray's seven.
Sure, Jyles has had his rough games this year, but Ray hasn't been impervious to early season struggles either. As CFL on TSN analyst Milt Stegall pointed out in Three Downs, Ray has a 7:4 TD to interception ratio in the Argos' three wins, and just a 1:3 ratio in the team's three losses.
And while some consider QB Rating to be among the most worthless stats in the game, it's worth noting Jyles' is less than five points lower than Ray's on the year.
As for the other pieces in the trade, K Grant Shaw has put together a solid campaign so far, connecting on 14 of 16 field goals with a long of 45, while the second overall draft pick was traded to allow Edmonton to net OL Austin Pasztor, WR Shamawd Chambers, and LB Ryan King. Chambers has recorded 10 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown for Edmonton this season while King has suited up for all six games.
Where the Argos figure to benefit most from this trade is in the post-season. It's no secret Toronto is going for broke this year – the year they host the historic 100th Grey Cup – and having a proven vet behind centre, one who has been there before, will certainly boost their chances of playing for the Grey Cup in front of a home crowd.
The Rouge asks: Through the first seven weeks of the season, are you reassessing the Ricky Ray to Toronto trade?