There’s no question that Brandon Bridge belongs as a quarterback in the CFL. Just how good is he and what is his role? That’s still the question and soon enough we’ll have an answer.
The Riders did what they had to do on Wednesday and signed their Canadian pivot to a one-year contract extension. As it stands right now, Bridge is probably the favourite to be the Riders starting quarterback in 2018 depending on what happens throughout the rest of the offseason. If no one else is brought in, then the starting job is likely Bridge’s to lose, though the competition will be (and should be) open once camp opens in the spring.
Bridge set career benchmarks in 2017 appearing in 12 games passing for 1,236 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. They’re not earth-shattering numbers but as far as I’m concerned Bridge was the Riders best quarterback after Labour Day and he should have been the starter for most of the back half. Veteran Kevin Glenn had a hot start to the season and was my pick for the team’s most outstanding player nominee at that point but he wasn’t able to sustain anything close to the pace he set through the first nine weeks of the regular season.
Does this mean that Bridge is destined to be a true starting quarterback in the CFL? No, but he’s also certainly not clearly “just a backup” either.
There’s no question that Bridge has his pros (size, strong arm, mobility, etc…) but he has some weaknesses that we’re all aware of too (accuracy, throwing motion, etc…) That being said, Bridge did enough last season to earn the shot he’s about to get. Now it’s time for Bridge to put up or shut up when it comes to being a starting quarterback in the CFL.
For both sides, the one year deal works. The Riders haven’t handed the keys to Bridge, giving them flexibility at the position. The one year deal likely leaves some money on the table making sure that Chris Jones and the rest of the management team will have more cap space to properly surround Bridge with the talent to make him successful. This is even without considering any possible ratio changes the league makes for next season concerning Canadian quarterbacks. If Bridge starting suddenly affects the ratio, then that’s a big deal for a team that has average (at best) Canadian depth.
The single-season pact works for Bridge as he’s basically betting on himself. If he has the kind of year I’m sure he expects, then he’ll be able to cash in next year when he’s proven once and for all that he’s a legit starting quarterback in the league. It’s a gamble because if things don’t work, Bridge will have missed out on a few dollars, but considering he would probably have to re-negotiate his deal or face getting cut if a longer-term deal didn’t work out, it’s not a risky gamble in the grand scheme of things.
The CFL could be looking at their first starting Canadian quarterback in a long time. Or not. Either way, the debate surrounding Bridge’s ability to be a starting quarterback should soon have an answer.
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