The Argos trade deadline deal from last October of Nick Arbuckle is finally complete. TSN’s Dave Naylor reports that the final piece of that trade, QB Chad Kelly, has agreed to terms on a contract with the Toronto Argonauts. Kelly had been on the Argos negotiation list since last fall.
Chad Kelly Agrees To Join The Argos
Late in the 2021 CFL season, the Toronto Argonauts were dangerously close to going over the cap because of a staggering number of high-profile players on the injured list. The Boatmen’s brass needed to free up cap space because the luxury of having two high-paid quarterbacks was no longer feasible. Due to in-season roster constraints.
The Argos had to find a way to deal away Nick Arbuckle. Toronto couldn’t afford to add any salary or suffer any more injuries, and they found a willing partner in Edmonton, who sent the Argos a future second-round pick and the rights to negotiate with QB Chad Kelly.
The deal worked out for Toronto last fall. And it looks even better now. In October, Chad Kelly showed his enthusiasm for potentially starting a new chapter in his career up north.
Chad Kelly’s Redemption
The 27-year old Ole Miss standout and former draft pick of the Denver Broncos, Chad Kelly, is one of the more intriguing American quarterbacks to make the journey up north to Canada. The nephew of legendary Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly has had a unique journey. The 6’2 216lb signal-caller and former four-star recruit has had his fair share of ups and downs since his college playing days.
The enigmatic Kelly was dismissed from Clemson as a sophomore for conduct detrimental to his team and then transferred to junior college at East Mississippi Community College for a year, where Kelly led the Lions’ to an undefeated season and an NJCAA national championship. Kelly threw for a staggering 3,906 yards with 47 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
Chad Kelly then made his way to Ole Miss, where he starred and became an All-SEC player. Kelly finished his first season with the Rebels completing 65 percent of his passes for 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also accounted for ten rushing touchdowns while appearing in all 13 games. Ole Miss finished that season with a 10–3 record, Kelly became the first Ole Miss quarterback to lead the Rebels with victories over Alabama, Auburn, and LSU in the same season. Ole Miss won the Sugar Bowl, and Kelly was named MVP.
A year later, ‘Swag Kelly’ picked up right where he left off. But a torn ACL and MCL cut his season short and capped off his college career. Concerns about his injuries and character caused Kelly’s stock in the NFL draft to plummet, and he would fall to the final pick in round seven before the Denver Broncos selected him.
Kelly’s rookie year in Denver was wiped out by wrist surgery. In 2018, Kelly appeared to be inching his way up Denver’s depth chart. But an off-field incident, where Kelly allegedly entered a person’s place of residence illegally after leaving teammate Von Miller’s Halloween party, led to the Broncos releasing him. Kelly pleaded guilty to misdemeanor second-degree criminal trespassing for the incident.
The Indianapolis Colts took a flyer on Chad Kelly. Despite him having to serve a two-game suspension for his actions in Denver. In Indy, Kelly never broke through. He would spend the next two seasons, on and off the Colts active roster and practice squad.
The Toronto Argonauts are giving Chad Kelly a chance at redemption. It’s something that he has been openly campaigning for on social media for almost two years. With the Double Blue, there will be an opportunity for Kelly to make headway and potentially challenge to be a backup behind McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
The Argos current QB room has MBT, Antonio Pipkin, Cole McDonald, and Austin Simmons. Kelly wants to be in Toronto, but it is a challenging task to make the transition to playing QB in Canada. There’s no doubt that Kelly has the physical tools to play at any level. He has a strong arm and good mobility. The question is can he embrace the Canadian game, his new teammates, and Ryan Dinwiddie’s playbook. Kelly has a shot to start games and make an impact in the future if he does. Having preseason games back this coming May in the CFL could be an asset for players like Kelly to showcase their skill set.
Chad Kelly will be an intriguing player to watch and monitor in the coming months. All eyes will once again be on him after the spotlight has dimmed the last couple of years.
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February 11, 2022 at 9:58 am
mixed feelings about Chad with the Argos; but if there is one place that can help him keep his head on straight it is under Pinball’s umbrella. If it doesn’t happen here it wont happen anywhere! worth taking a shot on this raw but seemingly untamed talent.