Q&A: Argos GM Jim Popp on trading for QB James Franklin

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.”

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

12 Comments on Q&A: Argos GM Jim Popp on trading for QB James Franklin

  1. Paul Garner // December 27, 2017 at 1:58 pm //

    The Argonaut management should be complimented on their ability to bring in good football players and to match them up with existing football players who needed to be set up in the best possible situations to excel. Take the QB position. Ricky Ray was installed as the starting QB before training camp. That seems pretty basic now but at the time it was a little more contentious. That move solidified the offence and the team. Then they found Wilder and Posey and the likes and even though they were late in starting last off-season they put it all together. The team stopped and started a few times during the playing season but Trestman took the personnel he had and got them righted in time for a run to the finish. Now a great move in bringing in a young, talented and mature QB with great upside. Popp also brought in a outstanding talent as head coach. I’m sure there were others who helped Popp along the way and they have done a great job. My only hope now is that with new ownership, a winning team, a bright future, they can market the Toronto Argonauts to Toronto sports fans. What sets the Argonauts apart from the Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays is the Canadian content, the Canadian competition and the Canadian Sporting public. I know, I know the U.S. players in the CFL but its more Canadian, lets say

  2. ivan Diablo // December 27, 2017 at 3:11 pm //

    i wonder how getting franklin plays with free agents ricky ray and fajardo ?
    note – i have always been in favour of having a QB as FG holder – a bona fide ‘thrower’ is great to have in case of a bad/mishandled snap or a fake – fajardo was also great as a backup QB for short yard – and he did score the winning TD in the eastern final – also held the ball for the winning FG in the grey cup

    • Fajardo would be my choice to succeed Ray as starter when time comes. Fajardo is a good passer as well, has a very strong arm. You might recall one game in 2017 they put him out there to throw a Hail Mary. But unfortunately it`s pretty clear Argo management does not share my thinking.

  3. ivan Diablo // December 27, 2017 at 3:15 pm //

    ‘What sets the Argonauts apart from the Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays ‘
    championships in 2012 and 2017 !

    i know the last championship was helped due to weather and was unexpected but as a life long argos fan i will accept it regardless

  4. ivan Diablo // December 27, 2017 at 5:02 pm //

    i think the argos would done better to get brandon bridge – local boy , big guy, schooled in football in us,. great legs [as shown in eastern final] and a rifle for an arm and he can be coached to throw better , and the argos go after free agent cdn running back jerome messam – let ray retire – wilder w/ those 2 would be a GREAT backfield

  5. Tinhead 296 // December 27, 2017 at 9:54 pm //

    If you are not aware, Bridge has re-signed with the Riders for one year.

  6. The Argo’s should develop Fajardo as well. He has a good passing arm, strong legs to run. They should make an offer to Messam (RB), Finch (RB) from Cal., CJ Gable (RB),Maumba (DB), Zylstra (WR), Steinhouer (FB) from Edm., maybe Sinopoli (WR) from Ott., Tasker (WR) Ham.. I think signing some or all of these players as well as the main players on their own free agency will give them another Grey Cup.

    • For Gable and Sinopoli, are you hoping Popp can make a trade?

      They resigned with their 2017 club over two weeks ago or more.

  7. When do we get a feature on Zimmerman the unknown interim GM who held down the fort and helped win a Grey Cup.

  8. Argos have a young practice roster QB, Dakota Prukop, who has the potential to be an excellent CFL starter. He played 3 yrs at Montana State, and his final year with Oregon Ducks, as a starter in the last 6 games. His college stats were outstanding, with a 64% completion average, and an excellent 3 to 1 TD to picks ratio. And…he can run. He’s a great, young, athletic QB who is built and throws like a Ricky Ray with good running ability. Gotta give this young man a chance.

  9. With this trade it tells how Fajardo and Prukop stand in the pecking order. IF the Argos sign Franklin hopefully both of those guys or both will be the #2 and #3 guys. Good young promising QBs are hard to get. At the very least 1 could be traded to another team for draft picks, neg list guys or needed players to boost up other areas of the team.

  10. Ticats fans Chilled // January 1, 2018 at 5:39 am //

    Lol GL to Argos next year… you guys are done

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