The major change will be in how many Quarterbacks the existing eight teams will be able to protect.
Back in 2002, when Ottawa returned to the CFL as the Renegades, teams were allowed to protect two Quarterbacks. This left Ottawa with slim pickings at the most important position in football. The 'Gades started their inaugural season with Dan Crowley behind Centre (remember him?), but he was soon replaced by a then-unknown Kerry Joseph. While Joseph panned out, that was a lucky break for the Renegades. Not that it mattered for them, since they failed to make the playoffs during their time in the league, but Joseph went on to have a very good CFL career, most notably winning the MOP and Grey Cup in 2007.
When Ottawa returns this time around, teams will only be allowed to protect one Quarterback. That means that Ottawa would be able to choose from a list that includes teams' backups, not just their third stringers. If Ottawa were to return this season the list could include, but would not be limited to, the following:
- Adrian McPherson
- Chris Leak
- Quinton Porter
- Steven Jyles or Buck Pierce
- Drew Tate
- Jared Zabransky
- Jarious Jackson
Some of Quarterbacks listed – McPherson in Montreal, Tate in Calgary – will probably be starters by 2013 and therefore not available, but someone like Zabransky or Porter, while not as polished, could be a guy to build a team around.
The idea behind this change is to make the Ottawa franchise more competitive from the outset. While the Renegades failed for numerous reasons – terrible ownership being chief among them – the fact that they never fielded a contending team hardly helped. Ottawa finished with four wins in 2002, seven in 2003, five in 2004 and seven in 2005. They were never really a threat in any of their four seasons. The Renegades ceased operations prior to the 2006 season.
A lot can happen in the next two years, but it looks like Ottawa will be given every opportunity to compete immediately when the league returns to the nation's capital in 2013.