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James Franklin a Rider, GREAT Move for Sask

Published: Tuesday, Feb 11th 2020, 12:02pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


In the middle of the night, I go walking in my sleep…. no wait, that’s the Billy Joel song. In the middle of the night, Justin Dunk of 3 Down Nation reported that the Saskatchewan Roughriders signed QB James Franklin to a 1 year deal for 2020 and it’s a GREAT move by Jeremy O’Day.


I know, I know… the Riders didn’t NEED him, we have Harkermania running wild (BROTHER!) behind Cody Fajardo as backup… but hear me out.


I like Isaac Harker. VERY nice, young guy. He lived a block from me last season so we saw him often. My dogs like him and that was enough for me. After all, dogs are the best judgement of character out there.

The problem is that Harker has about 5 quarters of CFL experience… 4 of them coming against a garbage team that Edmonton fielded in the final week of 2019… a game in which the Riders needed a pick-6 by Cameron Judge to win that game. Granted, Harker got the job done. They won the game and the top spot in the West that day.

Harker shows a lot of promise, especially for a guy coming from the Colorado School of Mines! Sorry Chad Friehauf, Harker is already better than you. But 2020 is a win NOW year for the Riders. Hosting the Grey Cup at home with a shot at winning is a real possibility for this team. A little ‘Sprinkle of Jesus’ from Fajardo and the Riders could very well be looking at a repeat of 2013.


But what if Cody gets hurt in the final few weeks of the season, or in the playoffs? Look at last year… EVERY starting QB in the CFL got hurt. While that is an anomoly, the Riders were fairly lucky last year that Fajardo just missed that final regular season game. Is Isaac Harker REALLY the best option for the team against a Calgary or Winnipeg in the playoffs to get to the Grey Cup if Fajardo gets hurt? I don’t think he is… at least, not yet.

Enter James Franklin. A guy with CFL experience, a guy that many thought was the next big thing at QB in the CFL. Obviously that’s not the case, but he was kind of put in a bad spot in Toronto recently. Franklin likely won’t turn into the QB many had hoped, but he is a very serviceable backup. He’s great in short yardage (something that killed the Riders in the West Final last year), can scramble and is pretty decent in the pocket.


Franklin IS the right option behind Fajardo in 2020 and I’m glad Jeremy O’Day thinks that way. Any other year and I would have said no thanks, stick with Harker as backup. But not in 2020… not in a Grey Cup at home year. Franklin’s best came when he worked with Jason Maas in Edmonton. There’s no reason they can’t rekindle that and Franklin becomes a bonafide option should the unthinkable happen to Fajardo.

GREAT move O’Day! This is what championship teams do!


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