The Riders ensured it would not be a quiet bye when they acquired Vernon Adams and a 5th round pick in exchange for Tevaughn Campbell and two 3rd round Picks. With the possible exception of daylight savings time, there is no topic that results in as much heated debate in Saskatchewan as quarterbacks. I’m sure there were calls for Adams to be appointed starter before most people were halfway through reading the headline in the press release.
In terms of quarterback recruitment this is the biggest move Chris Jones has made to date. Up until now his QB recruiting efforts can be categorized into 3 categories: Other teams’ discards (Bryant Moniz, GJ Kinne, Mitchell Gale, Jake Waters, Brandon Bridge, Bryan Bennett), Recruits who weren’t that good (Vad Lee, Jacob Huesman, Philip Sims, BJ Coleman, Maty Mauk) and misguided attempts to revive NFL careers (Vince Young and Johnny… errr I mean totally just Vince Young). We considered a ton of options this offeason. There were discussions about Lulay, Drew Tate, Michael Vick, Vernon Adams himself and of course James Franklin. Ultimately we settled on Kevin Glenn though he is clearly just a placeholder for this season.
So now that Adams is here in the flesh what does it mean for the Rider QB situation?
Effect on the backups – Regular readers will know that I am not the biggest Bridge fan. I maintain that if he wasn’t Canadian nobody we care about him. I will admit he has shown more this season that I expected but to put this bluntly, if the Riders actually thought Bridge was the QB of the future then they don’t make this deal. I fully expect that the arrival of Adams will mean that one of Bridge or Williams has to go (despite what the coaches have said). Personally I would like to see us keep developing Williams as we don’t yet know his ceiling but there may be logic in keeping Bridge until Adams is up to speed without offense (though knowing McAdoo had we played yesterday Adams would have been randomly inserted to run a play so that point may be moot). We didn’t give up a Canadian player and 2 picks for Adams to hold the clipboard, I’ll tell you that much. He’s now the #2.
Effect on the starter – My position has always been that Kevin Glenn is our best shot at the playoffs. So barring injury, he starts as long as we are in contention… and I mean serious contention, none of this “not mathematically eliminated” garbage. If we are not 5-5 following the Banjo Bowl, then personally I think all bets are off. When it becomes apparent that playoffs are a longshot then I say Adams becomes the starter and Glenn makes his annual appearance on the trading block as a rental player.
Effect on next year – Never say never, but this move makes it less likely that James Franklin is coming here (sorry to put a damper 2+ years of anticipation). I don’t see a scenario where we have both Adams and Franklin on the roster. I guess its possible, but like I said, unlikely. We have been trying for 2 year to strike a deal for Franklin and we may have finally decided that the asking price will never be in our acceptable range. Plus, Edmonton would way rather trade Franklin to an East team than help prop up a division opponent (unless they get a ransom for him). So in Adams we may be choosing the certainty of getting someone with a ton of potential on the roster now over taking a chance that we land Franklin in free agency where nothing is ever guaranteed. We still likely try for Franklin but at a minimum we have something to fall back on if your attempts at Franklin don’t pan out.
I’m not ready to appoint Adams the saviour of the prairies just yet but I do think he’s by far the best attempt Chris Jones has made thus far to find the next franchise QB.