Alouettes sign Grey Cup MVP Cody Fajardo to contract extension

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After a decade of searching, the Alouettes appear to have found a replacement for legendary quarterback Anthony Calvillo.

After signing a two-year contract as a free agent with Montreal in February, then leading the Als to their first Grey Cup championship in 13 years last month, the organization on Wednesday announced it had extended Cody Fajardo’s contract an additional season, taking him to the end of 2025.

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“Cody quickly adapted to our culture and quickly showed leadership,” general manager Danny Maciocia said in a press release. “He has proven that he can win and excel under pressure. We are excited to continue his association with us.”

Fajardo, who spent three seasons with Saskatchewan — but was benched by the Roughriders late in 2022 — saved his best performance for the Als’ come-from-behind 28-24 Cup victory over the favoured Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Fajardo completed 21 of 26 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. That included his 19-yard strike to Tyson Philpot with 13 seconds remaining in regulation time, capping a seven-play, 83-yard drive over the final two minutes.

Fajardo was named the game’s most valuable player, while Philpot received the outstanding Canadian award.

“I’m very thankful I saved the best game of my career for the biggest stage in that Grey Cup,” Fajardo said following the team’s Cup parade.

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Fajardo is the first to admit he’s not the strongest-armed pivot in the CFL. But he’s tough, resilient and isn’t shy to run when necessary. He has also evolved at his position, realizing he doesn’t have to win games by himself.

In 16 games last season, the native of Brea, Calif., led the league in passing completion, at 71.4 per cent. Fajardo, 31, passed for 3,847 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was intercepted 12 times. He also had 57 carries for 344 yards along with three touchdowns.

Fajardo’s contract extension was the first order of business Maciocia has handled since the team’s win over the Blue Bombers. The GM still is faced with a number of free agents before they’re eligible to hit the open market on Feb. 13, including defensive standouts Shawn Lemon, Darnell Sankey and Tyrice Beverette. Among the potential free agents on offence is the entire backfield of William Stanback, Walter Fletcher and Jeshrun Antwi.

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