TORONTO - The Cleo Lemon era in Argoland has taken a major hit.
That’s if it has anything left, and it probably doesn’t.
The Argonauts on Wednesday acquired quarterback Steven Jyles from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in exchange for their first-round pick (fourth overall) in the Canadian draft this May as well as a fourth-round pick in 2012. The fourth-rounder could become as a high as a second-rounder, depending on how many games Jyles plays for the Argos.
Jyles started 10 games for the Bombers in 2010, posting a 2-8 record. Jyles, one would think, will be the No. 1 quarterback in camp. The Argos did not trade a first-rounder for a guy who they think will be a backup.
“Every move we make is about winning Grey Cups and we feel Steven is a player who can help us do that,” Argos coach/general manager Jim Barker said in a statement released by the Argos.
“Steven Jyles is a competitor who adds five years of CFL experience as well as excellent mobility to our quarterback position. He threw 19 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, and put up career-high numbers before he was injured last season. He underwent surgery to his throwing shoulder this off-season and our medical staff is extremely confident that he’ll be 100% for training camp. We believe Jyles is very much worth the first-round pick we gave up to bring him to Toronto and we’re excited to see him compete for the starting position in June.”
Said Jyles: “Toronto is a great football team and I’m really excited to be part of the Argonauts organization. I have a lot of respect for my new teammates. Whenever we prepared to play the Argos last season we knew we knew we were in for a great football game. I love to play football, and I prepare and play to win every week. I can’t wait to get to Toronto and help my new teammates win games and compete for a championship.”
Lemon struggled in his first season in the Canadian Football League last year, completing 285 of 462 passes for 3,433 yards. His 61.7% completion rate resulted in only 15 touchdown passes, and he threw 19 interceptions.
It was revealed in December that Lemon had been playing with ligament damage in the pinky in his throwing hand. Despite the injury, the Argos finished 9-9 in the regular season and won the East semi-final in Hamilton before bowing out versus Montreal in the East final.
“We would like to thank Steven for his contributions to our football club last season,” Bombers general manager Joe Mack said. “However, we felt as though this trade benefited our football team long-term as we were able to acquire two draft picks, one of which is a fourth overall this year, will in turn improve our Canadian content for years to come. With the importance of non-import players in our league, combined with how we feel about our current quarterback situation with Buck Pierce and our young quarterbacks, we’re very happy with the transaction we were able to complete today.”