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Cody Fajardo’s Pay Cut is a Good Move for the Riders… AND Cody

Published: Tuesday, Feb 1st 2022, 2:02am

by Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)

 

Monday afternoon, it was announced that Riders QB Cody Fajardo restructured his contract. We talked about this on episode 184 of the Piffles Podcast and it was pretty consensus that Cody NEEDED to take a pay cut. Well, he did and it’s not only a great move for the team, but a great move for Cody.

 

First, I’ll say that it’s got to be tough and awfully humbling to be given such a big pay raise and then give a chunk of it back. After the 2019 season, we were all ridiculously high on Cody, he WAS the best QB of that season across the CFL. Then 2021 happened. Cody was ok… good, not great, but far from the 2019 version we all saw. To be fair to him, that’s not a criticism, outside of Zach Collaros and honestly a few other players around the league, play was down all across the league. A year off and no training camp with a coaching change will do that…

 

Cody is a proven winner, despite all the flak he’s been taking online for not duplicating his 2019 stats. At the end of the day, they don’t ask how, they ask how many. He’s earned himself starting QB money in the CFL and should probably be among the top 4 paid. But I feel Cody HAD to take this pay cut for a few reasons. The major one (and the only one I’ll get into this time), is to try and convince Duke Williams to come back for 2022. If Duke were to return, it’ll cost them a pretty penny. If he doesn’t, well you still have to go out and spend some money on another receiver. Maybe it goes to keeping Ed Gainey and Loucheiz Purifoy around (though, I think the Riders brass missed the boat on Purifoy and sadly, I don’t see him coming back), or building up that O-Line again.

 

So for the team, it’s a great deal. Anytime you can keep a guy you believe in around for cheaper, it’s an automatic win. Cody clearly realized this is what’s best for the overall balance of the team and it will be spent on adding better talent around him… we all saw Tom Brady do this over the last 20 years. Take a little bit less to make the rest of your team better.

 

But it’s a good move for Cody because it reaffirms what we already know: Cody Fajardo cares about the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the fans and just wants to win. Loyalty doesn’t exist much anymore in professional sports, but this short term pain will absolutely be long term gain for him. It may not be direct in the form of a CFL salary, but the amount of side deals he’ll get, the endorsements, that’ll make up for it. Who in Saskatchewan doesn’t want to be tied to Cody Fajardo? (The answer is no one) Playoff bonus money, you can make up some of your salary there, too. That doesn’t count against the cap.

 

But this move is also Cody betting on himself. He could have said no to the offer from General Manager Jeremy O’Day. Fajardo had all the leverage here. What was O’Day going to do, cut him? Then go sign Trevor Harris for roughly the same price? Ha. Instead, Cody is showing that this is his way of saying, yeah, I wasn’t as good last season and need to be better… and I’m going to be, I’ll show you. I’ll take you on a run like 2013… Grey Cup at home, I’ll be the guy to get you there and become a legend in this province. I love the confidence in betting on yourself.

 

But it’s a bit weird to me… no added years to the deal, so Cody is still scheduled to be a free agent after 2022. I would have thought that with the restructuring, we would have seen another year added on. Maybe it’s a show me contract for the Riders too?

 

We’ll get into this a bit more on the next episode of the Piffles Podcast and we’ll also discuss the first few days of free agency. Can’t wait to see what the Riders do with their roster as they aim to play in the Grey Cup at home again.

 

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