Davis: Collaros a good get for Riders but only if he returns to form

Quarterback Zach Collaros got paid more last year than the combined salaries of the four quarterbacks on his new team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

A couple seasons ago that hefty contract looked like a reasonable investment by his former team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. But major knee surgery and head injuries disrupted a promising career, leaving Collaros in 2017 winless as a starter and ultimately a backup who was also the CFL’s highest-paid player.

While it’s evident Collaros hasn’t been the same running, confident, cerebral gunslinger he used to be, the Roughriders believe he can regain his status among the league’s top pivots. Just not at his old price.

So upon acquiring Collaros, a 29-year-old with six years of CFL experience, the Roughriders began negotiations to whittle down his reported salary of $540,000, which includes a $200,000 bonus due Feb. 1. The Roughriders obtained Collaros from Hamilton for a second-round draft choice in 2018, the 10th overall pick which happens to be the selection they acquired a year ago when they shipped veteran quarterback Darian Durant to the Montreal Alouettes.

If Collaros returns to form, he certainly stabilizes a position that has been in flux since Chris Jones became Saskatchewan’s head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations before the 2016 season.

When it became obvious Durant, who had led Saskatchewan to the 2013 Grey Cup under a different coaching staff, no longer fit the Roughriders’ plans or their financial structure, Jones dealt him away and signed another veteran, but cheaper quarterback in Kevin Glenn. Jones also lured former NFLer Vince Young out of retirement, but Young’s attempt at resurrecting his career in the CFL was an unmitigated disaster.

Jones acquired young QBs Brandon Bridge and Vernon Adams and recruited rookie Marquise Williams; with Glenn they accounted for $500,000 in salaries last season, Jones told the Roughriders’ website. A serviceable starter, Glenn got replaced frequently by Bridge as the season went along, but the quarterback-by-committee led the CFL with 35 touchdown passes last season and advanced as a crossover team to the East final.

Bridge signed a new contract two months before he was able to become a free agent. Glenn and Collaros have existing contracts. Roughriders assistant GM Jeremy O’Day told a media gathering Wednesday the Roughriders were happy with their group of quarterbacks, particularly with their acquisition of a “proven winner.”

Tutored by veteran Ricky Ray and coaching guru Scott Milanovich, Collaros was the backup quarterback in 2012 when the Toronto Argonauts won the Grey Cup. Jones was Toronto’s defensive co-ordinator and the offensive line coach was Stephen McAdoo, Saskatchewan’s current offensive co-ordinator, so they know that Collaros is a hard-working, popular teammate. Collaros also led the Tiger-Cats into the 2014 Grey Cup, which they lost to the Calgary Stampeders.

Across the CFL it was believed the Roughriders were interested in acquiring James Franklin, a pending free agent whose rights were recently dealt from the Edmonton Eskimos to Toronto. Although acquiring Collaros doesn’t prevent the Roughriders from later pursuing Franklin, that scenario now seems unlikely. O’Day told reporters the quarterback pecking order will be determined by the coaching staff, who will make the decision on whether Collaros is progressing or still regressing.

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 (123 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.

33 Comments on Davis: Collaros a good get for Riders but only if he returns to form

  1. BigRedMachine // January 3, 2018 at 4:28 pm //

    Vince Young did not work out but I wouldn’t categorize it as an unmitigated disaster…

  2. Davis:”Collaros a good get for Riders but only if he returns to form”
    No Kidding? What insight.

  3. Davis, such a whiny chump with no class. Why I read this is beyond me. I thought I’d give him the benefit of doubt, but he’s just a sad lonely writer who the Riders wouldn’t let within ten kms of the team. As for the deal, Jones has proven he won’t over pay for anyone, and I don’t see this happening. For all we know, the Riders may be planning to trade Collaros for a better draft pick or other starters.

  4. Realistic one // January 3, 2018 at 4:55 pm //

    O’Day called Collaras a ‘proven winner’ I think “Moderately successful” would be a more accurate assessment.

    • The Iceman // January 3, 2018 at 11:41 pm //

      0 for his last 12 starts does not scream winner to me…

    • More like average QB with some upside. I wouldn’t call choking in the 2014 GC a ‘proven winner’. Holding a clipboard for Ricky in 2012 doesn’t cut it either…but alas that’s just me.

      • Interesting Philski … it used to be the officials that robbed the Cats of GC, now apparently Collaros choked.

        Are you happy that it looks like your opinion of Collaros may be proven in 2018?

        • Quite impressed that you have been monitoring my comments…why thank you…I feel so special! I’ve endorsed this before…that both the Proulx factor and Collaros’ inability to step up in the clutch doomed the Cat’s and their quest for the 2014 GC. And yes, looking forward to attending the July 19th game and validating my opinion.

      • 3rd and 1 // January 5, 2018 at 9:10 am //

        When are some of you going to learn what the word Choke means in the game of professional sports? Collaros did not choke in the 2014 GC Game. Hamilton was the underdog and Zack played well enough to win. Only a pure BS holding call behind the play on a last minute TD punt return took away Hamilton’s Victory. So Zack nor Hamilton choked in that game.
        A real choke is the play of Bo Levi Mitchell in the 2017 Grey Cup.
        The Hamilton Tiger Cats were in a disastrous free fall from the middle of the 2016 Season. No current CFL QB could have won on a team where the head coach GM had lost the dressing room. No one was playing for Austin anymore. Only removing Austin from the sidelines and bringing in June Jones. Trading their RB CJ Gable and DE John Chick waking up the rest of the players brought them some moderate success.
        2014 and 2015 Zack Collaros was a big part of the discussion for MOP. He’s only started for 4 years. At 29 Zack has a lot of time left to be really successful in this league. With that awesome receiving core in SK Zack will get right back on track.

  5. Alex Droho // January 3, 2018 at 5:11 pm //

    Salary dump but at least Cats get a reasonable pick.

  6. Scottsask // January 3, 2018 at 5:20 pm //

    I respect the fact that everyone has the right to their opinion, but after hearing Darrell Davis on the radio and reading his columns I have no earthly idea why he reports on anything involving the Riders. He detests anything about this team and comes across an the most negative soul sucking troll.

    • And he always has and always will. It stems from the fact that he has no athletic ability at all, despite his unhealthy desire to. So he decided to be a hack sports writer instead. He got booted from the Rider locker-room years ago for the very reason you state.

  7. Davis thinks it’s his job to criticize and bring down a team . He’s a parasite that does no good for anything he writes about .

  8. Sources Say // January 3, 2018 at 6:07 pm //

    With anything Roughriders the truth or realistic appraisal is somewhere between what Darrell Davis says and Rod Pedersen peddles.

    • True green // January 4, 2018 at 8:58 pm //

      Haha you’ve nailed it. Good assessment. Both err on the opposite side. At least with Pederson his game day flamboyant excitement can be pretty entertaining! Davis on the other hand, and his “glass is half empty” attitude is a total downer.

  9. Scottsask // January 3, 2018 at 6:12 pm //

    I fully agree with your statement. Pedersen is the bizzaro Davis. Nice to know it’s not just me.

  10. I don’t know Riderville, I think this extremely expensive Chris Jones experiment is about to unhinge itself, inspite of the presence of this marvelous new stadium. You reap what you sew.

  11. So why does Collaros agree to renegotiate?

  12. An interesting scenario with Collaros with the Riders and Franklin now with the Argos.

    Any chance of a trade between Argos and Franklin if the teams can’t get the salary number they want for their current QB?

    • I meant – any chance of a Collaros for Franklin trade if the numbers for each won’t work.

      • Franklin is reported as signed to a two year deal in Toronto.

        If the Rider – Collaros numbers don’t work … Montreal seems the potential trade destination.

  13. Green Pastures // January 4, 2018 at 12:37 am //

    Excellent trade

  14. Riders trading for ZC is no different than Argos trading for JF who’s was about to become a Free Agent. Yes there is the risk of losing the 2nd round pick. If ZC does agree to new contract terms, Riders simply release him before Feb 1.

  15. Surprising the Alouettes didn’t try to acquire him, no stability at QB since AC plus an aging roster that needs a rejuvenation….

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