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Anthony Calvillo’s back—for two years?

Anthony Calvillo may be under centre for Montreal for at least two more years.It's not really a bolt from the blue that 40-year-old Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo has elected to return to the Alouettes. Calvillo has done a solid job of fighting off time, and although this season marked a bit of a step down for him in terms of yards, completion percentage and touchdown to interception ratio, he was still a very effective quarterback and was chosen as the league's top pivot by the all-star voters (even if that was controversial). His return's certainly good news for the Alouettes, as they'll have a proven top starting quarterback under centre yet again, but it won't have caught them by surprise; in fact, new offensive coordinator Pat Meyer told CJAD's Rick Moffat yesterday he took the job because Calvillo was coming back. What is interesting is that Calvillo signed a two-year deal though.

Does that mean Calvillo's going to be playing for the next two years? Well, the logical implication here is that would seem to be his intention. That's significant; given how well Calvillo's defied age so far and how impressive the Alouettes can be with him, it's likely he can play there as long as he wants while he's still effective. What's also notable here is that a two-year deal may give Montreal a push to think about their backup job a little differently. Incumbent Adrian McPherson isn't listed as a pending free agent, so he's back if they want him, but the question's if McPherson's really the best option here; he hasn't overly impressed in his stints running the Alouettes' offence during injuries to Calvillo, and he's turning 30 in May, so he'd be 32 in the first post-Calvillo year (presuming Calvillo hangs it up after this contract, which is not a sure thing; remember, Damon Allen played until he was 44).

If the Calvillo uncertainty was set to show up again next offseason, McPherson would be a logical candidate to remain his primary backup. With Calvillo signed for two years, though, that could be enough time for Montreal to develop a younger quarterback who might have higher upside. They've got some impressive candidates already in the organization, including Stephen Garcia and Josh Neiswander. We'll see which way they elect to go with the backup job.

Keep in mind that just because Calvillo's signed for two years doesn't mean he'll be Montreal's starting pivot for all that time, though. Weird things happen in the CFL. There's always the chance of a career-ending injury or a substantial enough decline in performance that he'll be replaced, and keep in mind he's coming off surgery to fix a torn muscle (in his non-throwing shoulder, but still). He could also retire after this upcoming season if the grind of football gets to be too much. Even cancer hasn't been able to stop Calvillo so far, though, so the smart bet might be that he'll be under centre for the Alouettes for at least two more years. For Montreal fans, that seems like excellent news.

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