Saskatchewan

Riders re-sign QB Zach Collaros, land star running back on 1st day of free agency

The Saskatchewan Roughriders grabbed a marquee running back and re-signed last year's starting quarterback on a frenetic first day of CFL free agency.

Saskatchewan misses out on 3 standout quarterbacks on the market; all go to West Division rivals

Saskatchewan quarterback Zach Collaros signed a one-year contract with the Riders on Tuesday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press )

The Saskatchewan Roughriders grabbed a marquee running back and re-signed last year's starting quarterback on a frenetic first day of CFL free agency.

First, the Riders inked international free-agent running back William Powell to a two-year contract on Tuesday.

The team then re-signed international free-agent quarterback Zach Collaros to a one-year deal.               

Running back William Powell, right, should give the Riders a potent ground game. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The oft-injured Collaros returns to the Riders for his second consecutive season after originally being acquired by the team in a January 2018 trade. 

Last year, the 30-year-old completed 234 of 382 pass attempts for 2,999 yards. He threw for nine touchdowns but also tossed 13 interceptions while winning 10 games in 14 starts. 

The seven-year CFL veteran spent his first two years with the Toronto Argonauts, before signing with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in January 2014 as a free agent.

Powell joins the Riders after spending four productive seasons with the Ottawa Redblacks.

In 16 games last season, the 30-year-old Powell ran for 1,362 yards and six touchdowns on 251 carries. He added 39 catches for 319 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Powell also started the Eastern final and Grey Cup with the Redblacks.

In 35 career regular-season games, Powell has registered 500 carries for 2,835 yards and 13 touchdowns and won the Grey Cup in 2016.

B.C. quarterback Jonathon Jennings is one of the few quarterbacks still available. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press )

But the Riders were unable to sign one of three standout quarterbacks who were on the market.

They all went to West Division rivals.

The B.C. Lions signed former Edmonton Eskimo Mike Reilly to a four-year, $2.9-million deal. The Eskimos responded by inking free agent Trevor Harris, who guided Ottawa to an East Division title last season.

Then the Calgary Stampeders re-signed their free agent QB, Bo Levi Mitchell, to a four-year extension.

The Riders instead re-signed Collaros. The team's other starter from last year, Brandon Bridge, is still a free agent.

Other free agent quarterbacks still available include Jonathon Jennings and Travis Lulay from the Lions, and 40-year-old former Rider Kevin Glenn.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers signed former Rider defensive end Willie Jefferson. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

The Riders also lost all-star defensive end Willie Jefferson, who signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

That hit was lightened somewhat when Saskatchewan inked international free-agent defensive lineman Micah Johnson to a one-year contract.               

Johnson, a three-time CFL all-star, spent the last six seasons with the Calgary Stampeders.

Through his six CFL seasons, the 30-year-old has registered 165 defensive tackles, 41 quarterback sacks and 13 tackles for loss in 81 career regular-season games. He's also played five playoff games and three Grey Cup games.

The Riders also signed international free-agent linebacker DyShawn Davis to a one-year contract.

Davis spent the last three seasons with the Lions.

With files from The Canadian Press

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