Nichols flying to Toronto to visit with Argos
Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters announced Tuesday the team will release quarterback Matt Nichols later in the day to give him a head start on free agency.
It appears Nichols is taking advantage of that head start as the free agent pivot is set to fly to Toronto to meet with the Argonauts on Wednesday, according to TSN Football Insider Farhan Lalji.
Walters made the announcement while holding a news conference to speak on the two-year deal the team signed quarterback Zach Collaros to on Monday.
“I had a good conversation with Matt last night,” said Walters. “We’re going to release him this morning so that he can get a jump start on free agency. He wants to find a spot where he can be the starter. He’s not thinking about anything else other than finding the best fit for him to have an opportunity to start.”
Nichols agent, Cameron Foster, said earlier this month that his client was disheartened by the team’s decision to prioritize re-signing Collaros, who led the team to a Grey Cup title last season after Nichols was injured earlier in the year.
“He’s a little bit upset about it,” said Cameron Foster. “When you look at what Matt has been for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers the past (four) years, he didn’t get them across the finish line (due to a shoulder injury last season) but he did get them to the finish line.”
Nichols had been Winnipeg’s starting quarterback since partway through the 2015 season, helping guide the team to four consecutive playoff appearances from 2016-19, each with double-digit regular season wins. He was in the midst of another strong season – with 15 touchdown passes against five interceptions – when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last August during the ninth game of the regular season.
Nichols has stated that he will be ready for the start of the 2020 regular season.
There are two CFL teams currently unsettled at starting quarterback – Toronto and Ottawa. Ottawa traded earlier this month for the rights to former Calgary backup Nick Arbuckle, a pending free agent, who visited Ottawa this week. Paul LaPolice, who was Winnipeg’s offensive co-ordinator the past four seasons, is now head coach in Ottawa.