Chad Kelly becomes highest-paid player in the CFL

Chad Kelly continues to have NFL dreams. As he does, he has a pretty good CFL reality.

Via Justin Dunk of, the Toronto Argonauts have made Kelly the highest-paid player in the CFL. Which, in comparison to what NFL players make, isn’t much.

Kelly, the 29-year-old nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, has signed a three-year, $1.865 million deal.

He’s due to receive a $250,000 signing bonus in 2024, but it will be invalidated if he signs with an NFL team between December 2023 and February 2024.

During the ongoing 2023 season, Kelly has completed 149 of 213 passes for 2,402 passing yards. He has thrown 16 passing touchdowns against seven interceptions.

The last player taken in the 2017 draft, Kelly played for both the Broncos and Colts. Out of football for the 2020 season and all of 2021, Kelly signed with the Argonauts last season.

Kelly was the backup to McLeon Bethel-Thompson last year. An injury to the starter in the Grey Cup opened the door to Kelly entering the game and leading Toronto to a win over Winnipeg.

His example should provide inspiration to other players who can’t get a foothold in the NFL. Over the years, plenty of players have used success in Canada as a stepping stone to a second life in the NFL, from Joe Theismann to Warren Moon to Doug Flutie to Jeff Garcia to Cameron Wake.

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