The Edmonton Eskimos traded quarterback James Franklin to the Toronto Argonauts and Argos general manager Jim Popp shared his views on the trade.
When did the negotiations start with Brock and how did they progress to the point where you got a deal done?
“They progressed towards the backend of last week until today. This has kind of been peppered and sprinkled out there the last couple months as a possibility. James was an integral part of their team backing up [Mike] Reilly, so if anything was going to happen it wasn’t going to be until the season was over with. So the season ends and all of a sudden these talks pick back up as they went along and then all of a sudden the middle of last week it got to be alright we’re willing to send you [Mason] Woods, but in exchange for Woods we need this. Then you debate that for a few days until you come to an agreement what’s fair to each other. We both feel like it’s a fair trade. It’s about the possibility of helping your team is what you do trades for.”
“Part of this trade, it’s not just for James’ rights, it’s also an exchange in what we’re getting, for us two-fold, because we’re getting a third-round draft pick in a strong draft and we’re going to get a player out of that too. Now we had to give up a player, but we give up the player that has a huge upside and that’s why [Eskimos general manager] Brock [Sunderland] is willing to do the trade. We know more than likely we’re going to get a good player in the third round and then we also hope that we have James with us for several years. Sometimes you have to take a little risk to generate that potential.”
Are you worried at all about potential NFL interest in Franklin?
“Things like that you can’t control. Either somebody wants to play for you or they don’t. If there’s interest in doing some other things you can’t control that.”
Did you have a discussion with Coach Trestman about trading for Franklin?
“We evaluate everybody in the league after the season, so I give the coaches their voices to look at other teams’ players and I’ll let them give their evaluation of them by position coaches and coordinators. We take that information and the department that’s going out looking and signing people really don’t have to go back and forth with coaches at that point. If we’re going to do trades or move forward with people I already know how they have them evaluated or how they look at them. By the time I was ready to do a trade like this then I always pick the phone back up and talk to the head coach so he knows what’s going on and what I plan on doing, give them their chance to voice their opinion if they don’t want to do it. We go through a thorough process before we get to doing trades.”
Did Coach Trestman have Franklin ranked highly among quarterbacks in the league?
“James hasn’t played a whole lot this year so there is only so much to go off, but you have to go dig deeper than that, different years he has played. In the CFL when he has played his numbers are impressive, you really don’t know what someone else has until you have them. That’s part of the risk-reward that you take into this stuff.”
Did Franklin playing well against the Argos in his last start (2016) play a role in wanting to acquire him?
“I know that game left a lasting impression on people that had been with the Argos, Spencer [Zimmerman] and Marcus Brady. But he’s had other games like that I’ve been a part of where he’s done well. You know he’s got the potential to do that every week. You don’t truly know all that until they become that full-time starter. Everybody has flashes, but you have to look at his whole body of work. This is an outstanding college football player that has spent three years in the CFL and he was in a very good organization with coaching to match, he’s an outstanding young man and he’s got a lot of key elements that you look for.”
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