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Lions lock up Lulay

Andrew Bucholtz
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The B.C. Lions have signed quarterback Travis Lulay (pictured at right leaping for a touchdown against Saskatchewan Nov. 14) to a contract extension. If you go by the club's official release, that's all you'd know, with both the money and years being kept out of it (a far-too-common policy in the CFL, unfortunately). Sportsnet's Arash Madani managed to track down the details, though, and they're quite interesting.

Madani tweeted that the Lulay deal is for two years (including an option) and is believed to be in the range of $250,000 per year. That seems about right; it's not the $400,000 figure believed to be paid to some of the league's proven top quarterbacks, but Lulay hasn't hit that level yet. He has demonstrated that he deserves a chance to start for the Lions next season, though; he only took over as starter halfway through the year and completed 205 of 318 attempts (64.4 per cent) for 2,602 yards and nine touchdowns, adding 396 further yards on 62 carries (6.4 yards per carry). He even picked up three rushing touchdowns, including the spectacular leaping one below that proved crucial to a victory over Winnipeg and set the stage for B.C.'s playoff push:

Lulay also performed well under pressure, playing lights-out down B.C.'s stretch of must-win games. He was particularly spectacular against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in B.C.'s final game of the regular season, completing 30 of 41 passing attempts for 424 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also played well in the Lions' double-overtime loss to Saskatchewan in the West Division semi-final; he completed 28 of his 47 passes (60 per cent), threw for 357 yards and two touchdowns with one interception and scrambled five times for 39 yards and a touchdown. Most impressive was his incredible Flutiesque Hail Mary to Emannuel Arceneaux to send the game to overtime:

Those kind of performances certainly piqued other teams' interest in Lulay, so it makes sense that the Lions want to lock him up for a little while. He wasn't on the official free agent list, so it's likely he still had one year on his current contract before other CFL teams could come calling, but Madani reports that the NFL's Dallas Cowboys were sniffing around Lulay. The extension keeps him north of the border for now and ensures that he'll be wearing Lions' colours for the near future.

This contract has the potential to bomb if Lulay struggles; remember the last B.C. quarterback who impressed down the stretch to earn a new contract and a starting job? However, it could turn into quite a deal for the Lions. $250,000 annually is probably one of the lower starting quarterback contracts in the CFL, which is fair given Lulay's inexperience, but could become a bargain if he continues his strong play. This deal could also work well for Lulay; he's only 27 and he hasn't exactly proven a ton in the CFL so far. If he performs well over the next couple of years, he could be set to cash in on his next deal, either in the CFL or the NFL.

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