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A look at where every CFL team sits at quarterback

Vernon Adams Jr. Chad Kelly Bo Levi Mitchell Vernon Adams Jr. Chad Kelly Bo Levi Mitchell -

Nashville, TN — With a little more than a month until the start of free agency, Canadian Football League teams are in the process of making roster decisions, none more important than at quarterback. 

The quarterback market has already seen some movement this off-season, but there are still many things to be determined and pieces to fall into place.

Here’s a January look at where every team sits at the game’s key position.

Toronto Argonauts

The Argonauts have Chad Kelly under contract for next season to be the CFL’s highest paid player.

Kelly was superb during the 2023 season, his first as Toronto’s starter. He threw for more than 4,400 yards and 23 touchdowns against 12 interceptions and was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player.

The only threat to his Argo role for this season would be offers from the NFL, but those have not materialized.

The Argos saw enough of Cameron Dukes last season to be comfortable with him in their No. 2 role. Last season’s No. 3, Bryan Scott, is under contract for next season as well. 


Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Hamilton recently restructured the contract of Bo Levi Mitchell, freeing up about $200,000 to invest in the cast surrounding him.

Matthew Shiltz, who started over Mitchell in Hamilton’s only playoff game last season, has told Hamilton he’d like to be in a place where he can compete for a No. 1 role, but it’s possible his best opportunity for playing time could be with the Cats.

With our without Shiltz, the Cats like what they have in No. 3 Taylor Powell, coming off a year in which he threw 292 passes for 2,283 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie.


Montreal Alouettes

Fresh off a Grey Cup victory, the Alouettes recently extended Cody Fajardo by a year so that he’s in the fold through the 2025 season.

The Als have both Caleb Evans and Davis Alexander under contract behind him.

Evans held the No. 2 role last season but will have to hold off Alexander in training camp to keep it in 2024. 


Ottawa Redblacks

The Redblacks will have to pay a $100,000 off-season bonus to Jeremiah Masoli on Jan. 15 as he continues his recovery from a torn Achilles suffered in July.

Beyond that, Ottawa will certainly want to renegotiate his compensation for 2024 down from its current value of more than $500,000. It’s believed there is mutual interest in getting something done that would allow Masoli to return to Ottawa, although not in the starter’s role.

Ottawa also has Dustin Crum, the rookie who went from fourth string to starter in a matter of weeks last season due to injuries in front of him. Crum threw for 3,109 yards last season, but his 12 interceptions against just 10 touchdown passes leave much room for improvement.

Ottawa also has Tyree Adams, who made one start last season before suffering an ACL injury in July.

It’s widely believed the Redblacks would like to sign Winnipeg’s No. 2 from the last two seasons, Dru Brown. Brown has flashed in spot duty for the Blue Bombers over the past three seasons, throwing 14 touchdown passes over that time against just two interceptions.

Bombers GM Kyle Walters has conceded he can’t afford to keep Brown around and believes he’s earned an opportunity to be a No. 1 elsewhere. Ottawa looks like that place.


Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Bombers are solid at the No. 1 quarterback position with 35-year-old Zach Collaros coming off another stellar season, throwing for more than 4,200 yards to go with 33 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. 

It gets very thin after that without Brown, as last season’s No. 3, Dakota Prukop, is a free agent and viewed primarily as a short-yardage specialist.


Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Roughriders recently restructured the contract of Trevor Harris, their No. 1 quarterback from last season who will turn 38 before the start of the 2024 season.

Harris played just five games last season before suffering a knee injury but has been mostly healthy throughout his career.

Saskatchewan likely won’t be able to afford to bring back both his backups, Mason Fine and Jake Dolegala, who are both pending free agents.

The Riders first turned to Fine after Harris’ injury but then handed the keys to Dolegala for most of the second half of the season. 

Dolegala threw for more than 2,600 yards, with 11 touchdown passes against 9 interceptions after taking over from Harris and then Fine, who had 1,043 yards, three touchdown passes and five interceptions. 


Calgary Stampeders

The Stampeders remain committed to Jake Maier as their starter for the second season in a row, despite completing less than 63 per cent of his passes and throwing 15 interceptions to go with 19 touchdown passes. 

The Stamps recently re-signed No. 2 quarterback Tommy Stevens, primarily a short-yardage quarterback who completed just four of nine passes last season, while No. 3 Logan Bonner did not see action in 2023. 

The Stamps may add some CFL experience via free agency to compete for position behind Maier.  


Edmonton Elks

After several years in a row of struggling to establish a starting quarterback, the Elks went all-in on former Toronto Argonaut McLeod Bethel-Thompson in early January, signing him to a deal that could pay him roughly $500,000 in 2024.

Bethel-Thompson brings experience and durability to the position, having led the Argos to the Grey Cup in 2022, which he exited partway through the fourth quarter with an injury before Toronto’s dynamic comeback over Winnipeg. 

Bethel-Thompson played last season in the USFL, where he led that league with 2,433 yards passing.

The Elks’ bold move at quarterback moves Tre Ford to the backup role, after a season in which he became Edmonton’s starter for the second half of the season. Ford flashed brilliant talent but the variance in his play suggests he needs more seasoning in the eyes of Elks head coach and general manager Chris Jones.

No. 3 Jarret Doege saw limited duty in 2023, throwing four touchdowns and four interceptions.


BC Lions

The Lions were delighted with the play of Vernon Adams Jr. last season, a year in which he threw for more than 4,700 yards and 31 touchdowns in leading the Lions to the West Division Final against Winnipeg. 

Last season’s No. 2 quarterback, Dane Evans, has opted to retire and move into coaching, and the Lions are not planning to retain No. 3 Dom Davis, who was used exclusively in short-yardage situations last season. 

The Lions will be shopping in free agency for experience behind Adams. 


Pending/free agent quarterbacks with CFL experience and most recent team

Matthew Shiltz - Hamilton
Nick Arbuckle - Ottawa
Jake Dolegala - Saskatchewan
Mason Fine - Saskatchewan
Kai Locksley - Hamilton
Dakota Prukop - Winnipeg
Dom Davis - B.C.
Chris Streveler - New York Jets
Taylor Cornelius - Edmonton Elks