Vanier Cup-winning quarterback Danny Brannagan, who played at an undisclosed Eastern Ontario university, has signed with the Toronto Argonauts, who recently went back to the drawing board with their QB situation. Any time a Canadian pivot gets a CFL opportunity it's newsworthy (trending on Twitter as we speak!), but this time Brannagan has joined a team which is as unsettled at quarterback as any CFL team in relevant memory.
The only QBs under contract are Gibran Hamdan and Dalton Bell, neither of whom has taken a regular-season CFL snap on a 65-yard-wide field. Brannagan has an edge on both in game reps playing in a Canadian system. It's a long way from here to fans at doing the Oil Thigh after a Brannagan touchdown pass like they did at Richardson Stadium over his five seasons with the Queen's Golden Gaels, but it's a start.
The Argonauts obviously have a lot invested in Hamdan (a former Buffalo Bills third-stringer whom Allan Maki calls "a career underdog"). It is tough to imagine they would be content limiting their quarterback competition to a pair of three-down neophytes and a Canadian rookie, but this is a positive story.
The other layer to this, as noted about six weeks ago is that "it might not be a half-bad idea for the Argonauts to give" a Canadian passer such as the Ottawa-born Brannagan "a honest-to-goodness look at training camp."
Granted, this could prove ephemeral. Brannagan's Vanier rival, Erik Glavic, was quoted in today's Toronto Star: "A couple of teams told me they'd love to sign a Canadian quarterback ... I'm not sure I fully believe it, but there's definitely a push on."
How often does it happen, though? Argos coach Jim Barker is pretty positive:
"We are thrilled to welcome Danny to the Toronto Argonauts. Danny comes from the Pat Sheahan offensive system which is similar to what we do. Based on his success in this offence and his proven leadership, we used the opportunity presented at the CFL Evaluation Camp to see him in action to determine both on the field and in our interview if he possesses the specific skills we were looking for. We believe he does and he is a special individual who brings a lot to the table. He can make all the throws and he understands the Canadian game and how to read defences. We are excited to watch Danny compete with the other quarterbacks we have signed."That also makes two of Sheahan's QBs in the past decade who have earned a CFL shot. Take note, parents with strong-armed, defence-dissecting sons.
Now imagine if the Argos draft Queen's Shomari Williams No. 1 overall ... since the Double Blue share Rogers Centre with a baseball team whose chief executive said "Western will win" last season, it would be a burn on Paul Beeston to have a few Golden Gaels on the Argos' roster, just as a reminder.