Argos QB Chad Kelly becomes highest-paid CFL player

Jun 18, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly (12) throws a pass against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the first quarter at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback Chad Kelly, now starting for the Toronto Argonauts, signed a three-year contract extension that makes him the highest-paid quarterback in the Canadian Football League.

The team announced the extension on Friday, which the Toronto Star said is for $1.865 million. It includes an out clause should he get an NFL offer.

Kelly, 29, is the nephew of former Buffalo Bills great Jim Kelly and wears his uncle’s No. 12. The Denver Broncos selected the younger Kelly in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft and he appeared briefly in one game for them the following season, the sum total of his NFL experience. He also spent time on the practice squad of the Indianapolis Colts.

Kelly took over as the Argonauts starter this season and is in contention for Most Outstanding Player consideration. Toronto is 8-1.

“Today’s news is not just great for the Toronto Argonauts, its outstanding for our league,” general manager Michael “Pinball” Clemons said in a team news release. “Not only has he played lights out football but he has seemed to raise the level of opposing quarterbacks we’ve faced. However, the greatest part of this story is what you don’t see. Mr. Kelly has led this team from the off-season back in the winter to a team that’s become a consistent winner.”

Kelly, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., said he feels a responsibility to Toronto, which sits just two hours from his hometown.

“I haven’t had this much fun since I was playing Grand Island Junior Viking (football in the U.S.),” Kelly said, per the Star. “There’s some pressure now. Even coming onto the field now, it feels a little weird because even my teammates look at me differently. But I’m still the same guy … and every day I want to prove my worth and what I can do on a football field.”

He is 149-for-213 passing for 2,402 yards with 16 touchdowns on the season.

The Argonauts and Kelly will be action next on Monday at Hamilton.

–Field Level Media

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