Young poses more questions than answers for the Riders

Vince Young! Vince Young! Vince Young!

Have you heard? He’s negotiating with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who recently slapped the former NFL quarterback on their negotiation list. That gives the CFL team exclusive negotiating rights with Young, a former university phenom who turns 34 in May, hasn’t played football since 2011 and retired in 2014 with a bad interception-to-touchdown ratio (51-to-46) after being cut by the Cleveland Browns.

Here are the questions that should be asked:

Can Young still play?

Could he adapt quickly to the Canadian game?

Do he and his new super-agent, Leigh Steinberg, understand he won’t be making more than $300,000 Canadian dollars per year? It was Steinberg’s Tweet, by the way, that revealed they were negotiating with the Roughriders.

It’s a titillating story and it’s getting suitable play in mainstream and social media.

But it makes absolutely no sense.


The Roughriders need a quarterback. More importantly, they need a franchise quarterback who can lead the Riders into the future.

They dumped 11-year veteran Darian Durant, ostensibly because he’s too old (34) and expensive ($400,000). They subsequently signed 37-year-old Kevin Glenn to perhaps step into the starter’s role for less money, or at least serve as a backup and mentor to an aspiring pivot who can become the team’s future leader.

Young had a comet-like NFL career, an early all-star despite a sidearm throwing motion with the Tennessee Titans before flaming out and running into financial and legal problems. Most accounts show him to be a popular teammate who works in the community; give him credit for returning post-NFL to finish his degree at the University of Texas. Now he evidently wants to resume his professional football career, aware that he can’t immediately return to the NFL.

The CFL may just be a stepping stone.

There are two ways to field a championship team in the CFL: Build from the bottom up, which takes some time via the Canadian draft and extensive scouting, or supplement a competitive roster with a bunch of proven free agents. The first method should set up perennial success,, like the Calgary Stampeders; the second method is catching lightning in a bottle, like the Roughriders’ Grey Cup victory in 2013.

The Roughriders aren’t building slowly, but they just plunged deeply into the free-agent pool by signing tackle Derek Dennis, tailback Kienan LaFrance, returner Chad Owens and safety Marc-Olivier Brouillette, among othters.

Unless he’s the second coming of Doug Flutie, Young won’t be immediately ready to help the Roughriders. And he’s not exactly a long-term project. If Young were to join the Roughriders he would be getting paid like a starter, so he would have to be a starter. He wouldn’t be kept around to learn.

So let’s spell it out: First and foremost this is a public relations ploy that will most likely turn into nothing. But it’s an inexpensive ploy. If Young can’t play in the Canadian Football League, it cost the Roughriders little more than a couple of phone calls and a plane ticket. If he can play, well, well, well…..

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.
Darrell Davis
Darrell Davis
About Darrell Davis (124 Articles)
Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.

13 Comments on Young poses more questions than answers for the Riders

  1. very good artical. It articulates very well the points I try to make to rider fans of the direction they are headed and why stamps are the model franchise they should try to imitate

  2. This is Troy Smith 2.0. Unless coach Jones is willing to deploy a simple playbook suited for a running quarterback, Young will not have enough time to learn the Canadian game. But yes, it does make for great PR.

    • With the receivers they now have simple offense for running QB isn’t likely what they would want to run

  3. Never mind Troy Smith, try Vince Ferragamo. And what’s with our RB’s? They sign Lafrance & Milton to team up with Morris for a National triumvirate – all of 50 carries between them career-wise. Now we sign an import Cameron Marshall. Which direction are we going with this? If an import turns out better than Lafrance, we have a pricey special teamer there. Matt Walter last year had 237 carries & a higher avg yds per carry than our new guy. Deja vu perhaps?

  4. Man, I hope Gangrene signs this old man and makes him their staring QB. I would bet they go 0-6, and fire Jones before the Aug long weekend!

  5. Yeah nothing they are doing makes sense,That’s what I’ve been saying on here.I know I’m going to be told again how the stamps choke in the playoffs but you guys gotta open your eyes!!Jones is dragging you further in the gutter. they are paying 120000 to a backup Canadian running back and over 100,000 to a returner

    • Joey Jojo Junior Shabadoo // February 17, 2017 at 1:39 pm //

      @ Stampland (and Bob Knows) – We ignore you because you have no evidence to prove LaFrance can’t develop into a viable starter. It took Cornish three seasons to provide ANY kind of value and it took another two seasons before he had his first 1000 yard season. Cornish developed and excelled when given the opportunity but you dismiss LaFrance before he’s even given that same opportunity. We dismiss and roll our eyes at every comment because every single post has a tone of superiority to it and very little to no evidence to support your claims, aside from your own opinion, which frankly, is meaningless.

      • Joey, of course its my opinion,thats what this forum is about! Of course I have no proof.If I did I’d be paid my a team to give the proof.Is’s a reasonable opinion; look around some columnists say the same thing. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong Joey and if I am so be it I’ll admit it.Maybe you;ll win win the cup next year!! (In my opinion I highly doubt it). Rider fans are welcome to disagree and argue back you can insult me all you want but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to express myself.You can’t expect everyone to just agree and praise your team if that’s not what they feel.Stick to rillerville forum or North Korea if you want a place were no one else can freely express themselves or criticize.

  6. NumeroTreize // February 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm //

    Bring him in and see what he can do.

    • Marc Lebut // February 17, 2017 at 3:01 pm //

      That would make sense, until you call the shot just like that. Then, you’re stuck in proving it made sense and if you stick to it, it may blow up in your face.

      I like the comparison with Troy Smith, as it sounded just like that to me too. Young is washed up as a QB. He’s never had enough accuracy (below 60%) and his TD/INT ratio is bad. This shows poor pre-snap AND downfield reading. If he hasn’t been able to do this in NFL on a 52.5 x 100 yards field, it will be even worse on the 65 x 110 yards field. This is a PR stunt, and if Jones gets too much into it, he’ll burn himself sooner than expected. Young is out of football since 6 years now. How can anyone believe he’ll suddenly become a CFL all-star? He has everything to learn. Pre-snap reads, downfield coverage, checkdowns, get through readings, the 12th man on D, those 35 yards throws in the flat. He’d need an elite O line, which he won’t have just yet.

      Troy Smith 2.0 forecasted indeed if Young gets the ball. This is 3 downs football, so you can’t run 2 downs each drive. Accuracy is the key, which he has not.

  7. I hear Jones made a special trip to Houston to meet him.They went to a pub that happened to be having Karaoke night .They got up and sang a classic Canadian Song….A criminal mind is all I, all I ever haaaaddddd.

  8. Not even close to Troy Smith. Vince is in his mid thirties and has been out of pro football for several years. There are many QBs in their mid twenties that won’t be signed by an NFL club that would have a better chance of starting a game in the CFL in 2017 than Vince Young. Vince is still a name that makes headlines but very doubtful that his play could make any CFL roster.

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