Argos GM Jim Popp: James Franklin trade has ‘nothing to do’ with Ricky Ray

Toronto traded for rising quarterback James Franklin on Monday and the first thought that ran through many minds: what does the acquisition mean for Ricky Ray?

According to Argonauts general manager Jim Popp, not much.

“This has nothing to do with Ricky. This wasn’t a decision based off anything to do with Ricky.” Popp said. “Ricky Ray will make his own decision when the time is right whether he is going to be back with the Argonauts or not.

“But from our end, we’ve gotta be aggressive and keep working on things, as we do at all positions all the time. This was just an opportunity to get a young man that has a great upside that just happens to be playing the same position as Ricky Ray. This has nothing to do with Ricky Ray’s decisions or what is going to happen in 2018. But we have to be prepared depending on decisions made and this is part of our puzzle that you have a piece to along with our other quarterbacks that we have under contract.”

The 38-year-old Ray had a resurgent 2017 season under head coach Marc Trestman throwing for 5,546 yards and 28 touchdowns. That was after Ray appeared in 12 games of 36 games over the last two years due to a series of ailments. Trestman was unfazed by the injuries and named Ray the Argos starting quarterback at his introductory press conference in February. Ray lead the team to the 2017 Grey Cup championship, a record-setting fourth by a QB in CFL history. That’s led to speculation that Ray could go out on top.

“We have not had any decision from him. We haven’t tried to negotiate a contract, we haven’t entered into any of that. As I said before, he should take some time off, relax, get through the month of December – it’s his decision if he decides he’s not playing anymore or he wants to play. When he makes that decision, he’ll let us know. We may not know until May,” Popp said about Ray with a laugh.

“Whether it’s the quarterback position or any other position on our team you always have to try to find more people and we gotta find players that can play and help you win. This is one of those situations that we were able to get ahold of a player that a lot of people seem to have a lot of interest in that could potentially be a big-time player in the CFL.”

Ray is a certain Hall of Famer, but his future is anything but right now.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (892 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

24 Comments on Argos GM Jim Popp: James Franklin trade has ‘nothing to do’ with Ricky Ray

  1. This has everything to do with Ricky Rays future Mr.Popp – Geez

  2. This has only something to do with the NFL. If Franklin is signed by a NFL team before Feb. 15th it is a mote point. If he is not signed by a NFL team the Argos as well as other CFL teams have a EQUAL SHOT at him starting on the first day of free agency. I expect Franklin to wait to that date to go either the NFL or CFL way. Supposedly Warren Moon is advising him on what to do.

    • greenenvy? // December 11, 2017 at 6:05 pm //

      The Argos have a pretty good idea Franklin is signing. He could sign a deal subject to NFL tryouts where the Argos retain his rights, should he decide to come back to the CFL. That’s the deal Dexter McCoil had in Edmonton when he went south. So he had a deal waiting should he return in a specified amount of time. Franklin will have something in place with TO before free agency begins. I expect that before the deal went down with TO that a deal in principle was agreed upon. The Argos no doubt got a chance to feel Frankliln out before any trade was signed. To think that a team is just going to give up some players on the chance that he may sign is naive. Name a player who hasn’t signed after his rights were traded. Vernon Adams was acquired by Mtl on May 20, 2016 & signed 2 days later. Durant was acquired by Als on Jan 13, 2017 & signed Jan 19 with FA less than a month away. Mike Reilly was acquired by Edm Jan 31 with FA opening in Feb. He signed with Edm & never went to FA. Why? Because the team acquiring the rights has already talked to the player before giving up assets & a deal reached within days. Popp went through this with Adams. Does anyone really think he hasn’t done his due diligence with Franklin? He’s got the perfect situation in TO with Trestman as coach & Ray as mentor.

      • To play devil’s advocate:

        Popp also got a draft pick in return for Woods, so his eggs are not ALL in the Franklin basket.

        Toronto’s O-Line was also one of the best in the league this past year, so Popp was dealing from a position of strength. A lot of his free agents are going to want raises come Feb. Obviously I’m spitballing, but maybe he’s determined that Mason Woods isn’t a good fit going forward? Maybe Popp has his eye on other OL prospects and decided Woods is expendable.

        Popp now also has the option of trading Franklin to someone else before Feb, at a high asking price. Franklin is arguably the most valuable asset in free agency, and would give Popp quite a bit of asking power if he wants to shop him around.

        On Franklin’s side, I’m guessing his agent will advise him to wait until Feb to raise his stock, even if he fully intends to sign with TO. If Franklin likes Popp/Trestman enough to sign early, then good for him. But I’d be waiting until Feb if I were in Franklin’s shoes.

  3. Good point Jim. Franklin would be foolish to sign with Toronto before he becomes a free agent. If anything, his value will increase at that point when at least two or three if not more CFL teams can make starter money offers to go with a starting position. Why would Franklin take backup money and no guarantee that he’ll start when he can wait two more months and get what he wants? Now if Pop wants to offer him 400k plus and a guarantee he will be the starter, then that’s a different story. In this situation Ricky Ray obviously wouldn’t be back………but again, other than that scenario, what’s the incentive for Franklin to sign now……there is none! If and there is no guarantee, he plays in the CFL next year, he’s made it abundantly clear to Edmonton, that he wants to be a starter, which is why they made this trade. Can’t blame Pop for trying but can’t see it happening. With the CFL salary cap, teams don’t have the luxury of paying starter money to two guys….which is why I can’t see Collaros in TO either. Nice to suggest that he spend a year behind Ray before taking over, but do we all really believe see Collaros will agree to drop his salary by $200 or $300K just to be a back-up in Toronto, when Montreal, Saskatchewan and possibly Ottawa and BC all in need of starters and offering starter money. Should be an interesting off season.

    • Dream on Handler. The deal’s as good as done.

      • Boneyard….I’ll say it again…..what’s in it for Franklin in Toronto that wasn’t in Edmonton. Not happening unless Ray announces retirement before free agency. Franklin becomes THE prize catch and likely the object of a bidding war if he waits for free agency. Hmmmm. Let me see which would he prefer, being buried behind Ray for a couple hundred grand at best or starting elsewhere for $400 plus. End of discussion.

        • TO was looking for a younger QB. The Collaros package offered by Popp proves that. Popp has to say the right things about Ray after winning the Cup. Notably Ray’s “why not two” comment was followed a few days later by not sure what he’s doing. No time during the season was Ray offered an extension despite his stats during his MOP run. Do you think Franklin’s agent was not involved in any pre-trade discussions? Again, you have been given 3 recent examples of players who had their negotiation rights traded. If you can name an instant where this hasn’t happened, I’m happy to listen. Better yet, which team exactly has a better landing spot for him? He’s got a great shot with the GC champs, with a noted QB guru, a pro like Ray to mentor him & the biggest market in Canada. And pulleeze, don’t mention the Riders because of Jones. That’s a non-starter. Besides, unless Rider Nation is willing to admit Franklin is clearly #1 above Bridge, Adams & Glenn, why would Franklin compete with 2 young guys with potential & another 38 year old instead of one 38 year old? Give it up guys.

    • Same incentive for Franklin or Collaros in Toronto … Ray won’t last forever.

      Not sure Ottawa will be looking for a starter but stranger things have happened.

  4. Franklin needs at least a year as starter in the CFL before tackling the NFL, so Popp is making a good move here regardless of whether Franklin wants to play in TO or not. His rights are an asset that can be leveraged with another CFL club that Franklin may prefer to join.

  5. The deal makes no sense unless they have already agreed on terms with Franklin. Franklin has no value if he is a free agent. Either Ray is retiring or he has agreed to a salary cap friendly deal to share starts with Franklin for one more hurrah.

  6. This means that Collaros is looking at Sask or Montreal. I am thinking Montreal. Hamilton is reliving the Calvillo goof. Giving Montreal a guy who will dominate for the next five years.

  7. This move just shows that Ray is 50/50 at best about NOT retiring. Popp has great connections in the NFL and probably has a very good idea of Franklin’s chances down South.

  8. Lancaster/Reed // December 11, 2017 at 8:09 pm //

    I thinks its highly likely franklin will sing with the argos, however…….Franklin will not want ray on the roster as a mentor. He had reilly as a mentor for 3 years. This is his time. So i dont think franklin signs unless he is sure ray is retired. If ray is still on the roster, franklin is smart enough to know that trestman really likes his veteran qbs, and the odds of franklin being the number 1 guy is significantly less.
    If franklin isnt signed by the end of next week ( assuming no nfl tryouts happen before then) then he is most likely waiting till free agency.

  9. There’s a lot of “I thinks” in here. Guess I’ll add my 2 cents…

    I think…that based on my insiders knowledge of the situation (which incidentally is about as much as the rest of you have = none) … I have no idea how this is going to play out.

    Can’t wait to see though.

  10. Irrespective of how likely Franklin is as an Argo, at least it’s good to see Popp thinking of QB-after-Ray, since his biggest career failing (in an otherwise good career) was not thinking of QB-after-Calvillo.

    • Paul Bomber // December 11, 2017 at 10:00 pm //

      Good point. He did fail to replace Ac. But was that due to not trying, or bad luck no one worked out?

      • McPherson was groomed for a long time yet did not seem to get a fair shot.

        For some of the others, too much seemed to be expected, with little done about it as the defense was so good, the offense did not need to do much.

  11. BigRedMachine // December 11, 2017 at 10:59 pm //

    Players with contracts expiring are already doing the NFL circuit. Franklin may have found that the NFL interest isn’t as high as hoped and is willing to get some playing time in TO in the hopes the NFL interest improves over time. Count me as one who figure the deal is already all but done.

  12. Franklin is not a sure starter for any team. No dynamic play evident like Masoli; Franklin is more more like a sleeper.Note: when Reilly was pulled from the game for a mandatory conciousion check in the red zone Maas went ballistic because he no faith in Franklin scoring the touchdown.Maas regardless of his faults certainly knows quarterbacks and in this case it was thumbs down to Franklin.

    • greenonions // December 12, 2017 at 9:53 am //

      Actually when Reilly was pulled Franklin thtew a TD pass to Williams which was reversed on offensive PI, thus settling for a FG. Maas going ballistic was because it was a bad call pulling Reilly which everyone pretty much agreed upon.

  13. So much for the 1.5 m dollar man landing in Toronto…and “haunting” us…LOL!

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