EDMONTON — Edmonton Eskimos General Manager Ed Hervey got straight to the point.
“Releasing Steven Jyles is obviously step one in moving in the direction in trying to solidify who we want as the quarterback to the Edmonton Eskimos,” he said.
“We all knew this day was coming, so it was just a matter of time before we sent the news out,” he added.
So what’s the next step?
It’s clear that the Jyles experiment didn’t work out. Since being acquired just over a year ago as the main return piece in the Ricky Ray trade, Jyles did little to provide the Esks with any stability under centre, throwing for 1,756 yards along with six touchdowns and six interceptions.
Do the Eskimos try and go with what they have in Matt Nichols and veteran Kerry Joseph? Or do they try their hand at the free agent market where potential free agent QBs Adrian McPherson and Mike Reilly may eventually land up.
Hervey wouldn’t exactly let the cat out of the bag, but he did provide some sort of indication as to which direction he would be steering his cart towards.
“We have an opportunity to find a new quarterback and we wanted to establish room on the roster for that individual,” he said. “We have an opportunity to go young; we have an opportunity to see who’s out there. We’re in the process of signing guys and we have some guys that are under contract that we will announce at a later date.”
While Hervey did indicate that scooping a pivot out of the free agency pool might be in their plans, he was also quick to recognize developing a top-notch quarterback isn’t as easy as it might seem.
“We’re excited about the young group of quarterbacks that we could potentially bring in here, but we also understand that elite quarterbacks don’t just fall out of trees,” he said.
“You have to develop them and that’s where we’re at, we’re at the developing stages of moving forward and finding a quarterback that we can develop as a team,” he added.
In his first off-season as a CFL GM, Hervey has been actively searching for ways to improve the on-field product that will ultimately be commanded by Head Coach Kavis Reed.
While he has already made his fair share of key signings over the past couple of months – including Most Outstanding Defensive Player JC Sherritt – releasing Jyles was Hervey’s first major statement.
It’s something that Reed believes will steer the Eskimos further towards their ultimate goal.
“When we look at our football team right now, it was an opportunity to find a young quarterback and then groom the franchise around that individual,” said Reed.
“Steven, at 28-29 years old, we don’t project to be that guy,” he added.