Jim Barker talks Zach Collaros



He still has time to get a deal done, but Toronto Argonauts GM Jim Barker won't be surprised if quarterback Zach Collaros tests the CFL free-agent waters.

"We'd like to have him back and we're still working on it," Barker said Thursday. "But we'll have to see what happens."

One team in need of a starting quarterback is Winnipeg, which had three different starters en route to posting a league-worst 3-15 record. This off-season, the Blue Bombers also hired former Argos special-teams co-ordinator Mike O'Shea as their new head coach.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats could be a darkhorse with veteran starter Henry Burris also slated to become a free agent. If Burris, 38, doesn't return, that would leave the defending East Division champion with youngsters Dan LeFevour and Jeremiah Massoli along with former NFLers Brian Brohm and Stephen McGee under contract.

The expansion Ottawa Redblacks, who begin play this season, will undoubtedly look at Collaros if he's a free agent but they'll do that with most all players who become available Feb. 15. The franchise selected Calgary's Kevin Glenn and B.C.'s Thomas DeMarco in last month's CFL expansion draft and also has Matt Faulkner, who played collegiately at San Jose State, on the roster.

Ideally, Barker would like Collaros to remain in Toronto in head coach Scott Milanovich's offence and continue being tutored by Ray, one of the CFL's best and most accurate quarterbacks. But other teams can entice Collaros with the chance to start — and earn a starter's paycheque — which Barker can't with Ray under contract with the Argos through the 2015 campaign.

Toronto carried five quarterbacks last season — Ray, Collaros, sophomore Trevor Harris and newcomers Josh Portis and Mitchell Gale. All but Portis saw playing time in 2013, something Barker said would bode well for the Argos if Collaros left.

"If we lose Zach, we're more than happy to have Trevor and the two other guys to compete with him to be No. 2," Barker said. "Trevor has shown he can play in our league while the other two are more than capable."

Collaros isn't the only prominent CFL player poised to become a free agent next month. Among those with expiring contracts who've yet to re-sign with their present clubs include: Montreal offensive lineman Josh Bourke and linebackers Shea Emry and Kyries Hebert; Hamilton linebackers Jamall Johnson and Simoni Lawrence; Winnipeg cornerback Jovon Johnson and linebacker Henoc Muamba; Saskatchewan slotback Weston Dressler, running back Kory Sheets, defensive back Craig Butler and kicker Chris Milo; Calgary defensive lineman Cordarro Law and offensive lineman Dimitri Tsoumpas; Edmonton linebacker Domaso Munoz; and B.C. receiver Nick Moore and defensive lineman Keron Williams.

Collaros is one of 10 potential Toronto free agents, a list that includes kicker Swayze Waters, linebacker Robert McCune and cornerback Pat Watkins. Barker isn't sure if he'll be able to re-sign any of those players before Feb. 15.

"We're trying," he said. "But they all want to go look at it and you have to let them."

Going to be interesting where he lands that's for sure.

I don't think there is a chance in hell Barker can re-sign him. Winnipeg HAS to land him or the fans will be really pissed off. The kid is going to get PAID!

.....Whoever signs Collaros better be prepared to outbid the Bombers...Right now the Bombers are virtually kicking out nothing in the qb. dept. ,and they will more than likely clear the decks of the 'hangers-on' ,in order to sign Zack (except for a low salaried Hall)....Nice hunk of cash AND more than likely a starters job are hanging in the balance for Collaros...I guess we'll see in about 21 days from now which way he chooses to go... ........ My guess...he'll be in bluengold :wink:

I agree that the Bombers almost HAVE to go after this kid. If they aren't interested, I will seriously wonder what Miller and O'Shea are thinking...

personally, I believe Drew Willy to be a better prospect than Collaros and is vastly underrated in the FA market.

DW has good size and surprising agility, yet is extremely accurate and methodical with excellent read instincts, definitely a player to watch.
The athletic Collaros will develop into a formidable CFL QB, although needs to calm down on his sometimes erratic and frantic play.

I'd love to the Cats pick up DW during FA as a potential heir to the soon to be retired Burris which is not that far off in the future.
Either way, both are still learning how to play Canadian ball and will experience growing pains if thrown to the wolves right out of the gate.

and aside from the aforementioned two, the QB pickins' are slim, as Nichols and Neiswander have far too many question marks unless considered as a depth pivot.

Anyone's guess. There will be a few biders willing to clear the decks. Remember how the Reilly thing went down last season ?

Burris is no slouch.

Hey, I could very easily see him in a Bomber jersey, but honestly, I think it will be Burris in a Bomber jersey, and Zack in a Cats. If they don't re-sign Henry, they have lots of money...and Austin did not seem to overly like Henry. If they really wanted him back, I have to think he would be signed by now. would they take him if they can't get another guy such as Collaros...sure...but IMO not Austin's first choice. Austin likes football intelligent QBs, and there is no way around it...Henry is all athletic, but middle of the pack in football savy at best. He routinely looked pissed at him, and used multiple QBs...something Austin has never done in any system he has been a part of...short yardage aside.

If you are Collaros and the Bombers offer up basically the same as the Cats, where would you sign:

  • The place that has been very unstable and stuggling for wins, that has had innadequate pass coverage, and GMs who have not bolstered the talent
  • The team that made it to the Grey Cup with a brand new HC/GM and had a QB who lead the league in passing yeards? Working for a guy who made Kerry Joseph, who has had nothing too special for most seasons, an MVP in 1.

These teams should be able to be basically the same for offers...

Henry's experience and mobility, to be honest, is likely a better fit for the Bombers anyways.

just my take on it

They could be in the game but Burris leaving does not save them that much. When he signed with the Cats He took an up front bonus of 100k and a salary of 200k. So his CAP hit last season was 200k. They saved a bit with Hage leaving. But that's not going to land Collaros. Winnipeg can pay as much as 350k for the guy they want.

Then there is also the fact no team knows what the CAP will be so it becomes a real game of riverboat gambling this year.

....T-Cats still have Lefevour, Masoli and some other cat they're planning on keeping around...That isn't chump change..Like you say Burris off the books isn't giving them a lot to play with...especially if the Peg goes all out....BUT we shall see...There could be other mitigating circumstances in Zacks decision...I would say he's probably plan A for the Bombers...Willy and Burris plan B... :roll:

We don't even know if that is who Winnipeg will go after. But I think it is telling how hard Barker has tried to keep him that they rate him very highly. O'Shea also has a unique advantage having seen him day in day out the last two years.

Willy could end up being just as good if not better. You have Tunnel vision :stuck_out_tongue: Maybe its a Papa thing. :wink:

I guess I'll amend my statement. I think that the Bombers absolutely HAVE to be going after at least one of Collaros and Willy. Different QBs, but they're the cream of the QB FA market and Winnipeg has nothing proven in their existing stable. So whether it's Collaros or Willy, they have to be active.

.....Tunnel vision???? :lol: No ...just long lived vision as I've seen A LOT of quarterbacks of every description come and go in this league...AND Zack looks like a winner to me... :wink:

My favourite Winnipeg QB in my time was Dieter Brock. What an Arm...I don't think I've ever seen a guy get that much amplitude on a ball. Its too bad he couldn't read defenses better. But he had an arm like Bishop and could lob it like Ray.

never said he was.

Burris remains a top tier QB even at the tail end of his career, but the Cats need to groom a suitable replacement before the cookie jar is bare, and I am not convinced LeFevour is that guy.

Burris would be a good fit for winnipeg.

RE: Austin_ Without Burris the Cats would not have made the playoffs, let alone beat Montreal, Austin himself said they threw his playbook out and let Burris freelance the spread offence on the winning drive in the east semi.

Ill say it here, If they don't sign Burris the Ti-Cats will miss the playoffs in 2014

I don't know about that. Do worse than Winnipeg and Ottawa this year ? If they decide to move on its probably as good a year as any. New stadium and an expansion team in your division...At some point they will need to move on do you do it a year early or a year late ?

Burris has said he wants to stay in Hamilton, He probably has 3 years left at high level, and would be a great mentor for the next starter.
Why would Austin risk 3 or more above 500 seasons ?