Edmonton Eskimos’ Mike Reilly headlines franchise QBs for CFL free agency

Future of Edmonton Eskimos’ Mike Reilly
According to at least one local sports expert, the BC Lions will soon make it official: QB Mike Reilly will be saying goodbye to Edmonton.

Mike Reilly is staying in Edmonton.

Mike Reilly is going to B.C.

Mike Reilly is going to Saskatchewan.

If team X loses player Y, then they will certainly enquire about Reilly.

It’s all out there as the Canadian Football League readies itself for free agency on Tuesday.

CFL free agency comes and goes every February. There is always player movement as significant players go from one team to another and others re-sign with their old clubs.

READ MORE: Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly on his approach to CFL free agency

Until 2019, CFL free agency and the word “frenzy” have never appeared in the same sentence.

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The perfect storm has set up more interest in CFL free agency than we have seen…maybe ever.

Not one, not two, not even three — but eight quarterbacks who started significant games last year will be on the market Tuesday at 10 a.m. Edmonton time.

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly runs the ball during first half CFL action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, in Regina on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.
Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly runs the ball during first half CFL action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, in Regina on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Edmonton Eskimos vice president of football and general manager Brock Sunderland says everyone has a guess, but no one is sure how it will all play out.

“It’s such uncharted waters right now. I don’t think this has ever happened, not only in the CFL but I have never seen this in the NFL or any other football league where franchise quarterbacks are all hitting the market at the same time.

“I think there is quite a bit of uncertainly across the league”

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That list of QBs starts with the big three. Mike Reilly, Bo Levi Mitchell and Trevor Harris — franchise quarterbacks in Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa.

The list continues with guys who were, or could be, franchise QBs — Travis Lulay and Jonathon Jennings in B.C., Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge in Saskatchewan and Ricky Ray from Toronto.

Lulay and Ray have yet to commit to playing again this year, but the other six are most definitely in play.

READ MORE: Jason Maas will return to coach the Edmonton Eskimos in 2019; four coaches let go

The Eskimos focus is clearly Reilly, and why not?

He has been all world for the Green and Gold since his arrival in 2013. They began negotiating last season and that has continued into the off season. Sunderland says he has made two trips to Seattle, including one with head coach Jason Maas and offensive coordinator Jordan Maksymic.

The Eskimos GM feels things might be quiet for the next few days leading up to Tuesday.

“My guess is it will be sooner than what’s anticipated,” Sunderland said. “I think Tuesday and Wednesday you will see some quarterbacks signed.”

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One thing Sunderland knows is that if Reilly doesn’t return to Edmonton, it won’t be because of money.

“It wont be a scenario where we are outbid.

“I have literally told their camp, ‘name your price'”.

Reilly could hear that from more than one team come Tuesday.

The Eskimos can offer as much money as anyone, what they can’t do is make that trip home to Seattle any shorter.

You can’t change geography.