Matt Nichols will be looking for a new team after getting released by the Winnipeg Blue bombers and it appears as if the Toronto Argonauts have reportedly expressed interest.
Recently released quarterback Matt Nichols reportedly met with the Toronto Argonauts after the Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced they would be moving on from their former quarterback, according to TSN’s Farhan Lalji.
The 2019 season went from a dream to a nightmare for the seven-year veteran, who was a runaway candidate for MOP when he went down with a shoulder injury midway through the season.
Nichols was replaced by backup Chris Streveler, before a trade saw Zach Collaros finish off the season for Winnipeg.
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Since the moment the Blue Bombers lifted the Grey Cup, there have been rumblings that they would go with the man who won them the game – and not the man who played a part in getting them there.
With Monday’s announcement that Zach Collaros has been signed to an extension in Winnipeg, those rumblings became a reality.
The Argos are smart to meet with Nichols now before the free-agency negotiation period opens up. But they are fighting an uphill battle to recruit the former two-time Big Sky player of the year.
Of the nine teams in the CFL, two do not have a clear No. 1 quarterback – the Argonauts, and the Redblacks.
Normally, a new offensive-minded coach like Ryan Dinwiddie would be enough to entice a free agent quarterback to come to the Double Blue, but the Redblacks have a new coach of their own, and to Nichols, it would be a very familiar face.
Paul LaPolice was handed the coaching reigns in Ottawa, in what will be his second stint as a head coach in the CFL. But LaPolice spent the last four seasons in Winnipeg as Mike O’Shea’s Offensive Coordinator, coinciding perfectly with Nichols’ run as the starter for the Bombers.
Ottawa did trade for Calgary backup Nick Arbuckle’s expiring contract, but that was before Winnipeg had made a decision, and it wasn’t clear that Nichols would be available.
Expect the Redblacks to make a strong push for Nichols, with familiarity being the most enticing reason for Matt Nichols to sign there.
But the pitch that Pinball, Dinwiddie and co. will put together is nothing to laugh at. Dinwiddie was the quarterback whisperer in Calgary for the last four seasons, enjoying one of the best runs in CFL history.
While Dinwiddie is saying all the right things about Toronto’s current quarterbacks (just in case they stay on the roster), it stands to reason that he would want his own “new guy” in the quarterback room, someone who is looking for a fresh start just like Dinwiddie.
There is no one more deserving and ready to hit the ground running than Matt Nichols, especially if he channels the embarrassment of being replaced the right way.
There is also another unique wrinkle to this entire saga – as a released player, Matt Nichols is free to negotiate right now, meaning before Nick Arbuckle officially becomes a free agent on February 11th, Nichols could already be off the board.
This also favours Toronto over Ottawa because the Redblacks have to worry about the optics of pursuing another quarterback, while the “backup plan” is under contract. Toronto can pursue Nichols whole-heartedly, filling the most important spot on the roster before free agency even begins, and hurting a division rival all in one move.
It makes for an interesting few weeks, and will surely give us the first glimpse of what Ryan Dinwiddie’s Argos’ era will look like.