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Rick Zamperin: Re-signing Jeremiah Masoli is a win-win for him and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (8) pumps his fist following CFL football action against the Toronto Argonauts, in Hamilton, Ont., on November 2, 2019.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (8) pumps his fist following CFL football action against the Toronto Argonauts, in Hamilton, Ont., on November 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

With the re-signing of Jeremiah Masoli, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have the best 1-2 quarterback combo in the Canadian Football League.

However, the most intriguing part of this scenario in Steeltown is which quarterback will be No. 1 and which will be No. 2?

Masoli reached elite level status in the CFL in 2018 when he was named an all-star and the East Division’s Most Outstanding Player after he recorded career highs in passing yards (5,209) and touchdowns (28). He carried that level of play into 2019 until he suffered a season-ending knee injury in July.

READ MORE: All-star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli re-signs with Hamilton Tiger-Cats for 2020 season

The 31-year-old Californian lead the Cats to a league-best 5-1 record to start this past season but was forced to hand over the controls of the offence to backup QB Dane Evans who quickly made a name for himself by throwing for 3,754 yards, 21 TDs and 13 interceptions, while sporting a 10-2 record.

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Masoli could have become a free agent on Feb. 11 and entertained offers from quarterback-needy teams like the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks, and even the defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who as of right now don’t have a proven starter under contract.

Instead, Masoli is sticking with the devil he knows instead of the one that he doesn’t.

Revered in the Ticats’ locker room and loved in the community, Masoli will be entering his eighth season in Hamilton and by the time he is healthy enough to play — which, quite possibly could be the season opener on June 13 against Winnipeg — head coach Orlondo Steinauer will have a big decision to make.

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Some coaches are of the mindset that a player should not lose his starting job because of an injury, while others adopt the philosophy of starting the player who puts the team in the best position to win.

My guess is Evans will begin 2020 as Hamilton’s starting QB and we won’t see Masoli start a game until Evans falters.

Schooner Sports and Entertainment secures promise from Halifax Council over CFL stadium
Schooner Sports and Entertainment secures promise from Halifax Council over CFL stadium

One other thing to consider is this: is there any guarantee that Masoli’s repaired knee will allow him to be the same QB he was before he got hurt?

Re-signing Masoli was a smart move by the Ticats because the club already knows what Evans can do, but should he stumble in year two as a starter Masoli is the best safety net in the CFL.

If Masoli is anywhere close to his playing prowess pre-injury, then Hamilton has a lethal 1-2 punch under centre and has also prevented another team from strengthening the most important position on the field.

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