author: konstantin kharitonov | contributor
Standout Rider traded to Montréal
An interesting thing happened in early morning of Jan. 13, 2017. Like most people in the province, I woke up, checked my phone and was astonished. The Roughriders had traded quarterback Darian Durant to the Montréal Alouettes in exchange for a fourth round pick (32nd overall) and a second round pick in 2018. To say it is a big change for the team is an understatement. Especially when it comes to an eleven-year veteran and starting quarterback since 2009. It’s unspeakable that they could have ever traded him…right?
Well, one does have to look at his age. Durant will be 34 coming into the season, turning 35 in August. While, yes, great players to tend to keep performing at such a high level much longer than others, even then, the CFL record for oldest player is 41. Sadly, Durant does not have many more years to play in the league, especially with his injury history. While his tenure should not be dominated by his long list of injuries, it does affect the longevity of his career. The team has finished 3-15 and 5-13 the past two years, and the future unfortunately looks like little improvement will be made. It is an uncomfortable reality to come to, but Durant’s time with the Riders was up.
Look, the upcoming season is going to be brutal. The offence is a mess and the defence is abysmal. Even with Durant as the quarterback, the Riders would not be close to competition, especially in the West Division. While that does leave the Riders with little to replace him, at least it does give Chris Jones a clean slate to really leave his mark on the team.
Now, time to look at the return. At first glance, it was not very overwhelming. However, given some thought, it’s decent value, for what its worth. Firstly, the fourth rounder does come to be 32nd overall, which can still yield a prospect that could be useful somewhere down the line. On top of that, the 2018 second rounder will still be between eighth and fourteenth overall, which has a much greater chance of a promising prospect. For a player with an expiring deal going into free agency, it’s a more than adequate return. In fact, Montréal could have waited until Feb. 14 and have signed him for free. From a business side, it’s a completely reasonable decision for Chris Jones to make.
But that’s not just it; he’s not any old shmuck on the practice roster. It’s Darian Durant we’re talking about – second in most passing yards by a Roughrider, second in pass attempts, second in competitions, and third in passing touchdowns. He has been such a dominant quarterback for the Riders, even winning the Grey Cup in Regina. For such a long period, Durant was the face of the franchise through extreme highs and lows. He is always a fierce competitor.
In a perfect world, this trade would not have ever happened, because it would have never needed to. However, with any trade or profession, time only goes forward, and we must move on from memories and create new ones. So long Darian Durant. Lord knows you will need all the help you can get with Montréal.