The 2023 Grey Cup MVP Cody Fajardo is ready to call Montreal his permanent home.
On Wednesday, December 6, the Montreal Alouettes announced the signing of Fajardo to a contract extension running through the 2025 season.
“Cody quickly adapted to our culture and quickly showed leadership,” Alouettes’ general manager Danny Maciocia said. “He has proven that he can win and excel under pressure. We are excited to continue his association with us.”
The 31-year-old joined Montreal for the 2023 season, dressed in 16 games, finished first across the Canadian Football League with a 71.4 passing percentage, and picked up 3,847 air yards on 317 completions. He added another 14 passing touchdowns, while running the ball on 57 occasions for 344 yards and three more scores.
He then led the Als to the team’s first Grey Cup title since 2010 by way of an unthinkable postseason run. Montreal first took care of business against Hamilton before stopping the league’s No. 1 team – the Toronto Argonauts – dead in their tracks in the East Final.
But it was the Grey Cup championship game in Hamilton, ON, in late November to which Fajardo took matters into his own hands, shutting down the ever-dominant Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and doing so in dramatic fashion.
The season-ending victory was Montreal’s eighth win in a row, and once again happened to be a come-from-behind thriller against Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros, who held a career 9-0 record against Fajardo heading into the Grey Cup.
“I think something big in my career has been those comeback victories,” Fajardo said in his postgame press conference. “It started in 2019 when I was talking about sprinkles of Jesus, and there were plenty of sprinkles of Jesus out there tonight.”
He went 21 for 26 in the air for 280 yards, as his receivers scored three majors. The match was highlighted by the game-winning drive with just 13 seconds left on the clock, giving Montreal a 28-24 victory over Winnipeg. In taking the reins as the heavy underdog, Fajardo was presented with the Grey Cup MVP recognition shortly before lifting the iconic championship trophy high above his head.
“It was just so special because that Winnipeg team is legendary status; it’s a dynasty,” Fajardo added. “That’s a team that has gone to four straight Grey Cups. We knew we had to play our best ball just to have a chance, and we did that tonight. We came together, and it was a great football. That’s all we could ask for tonight.”
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound passer came to the Als after serving one year as the short-yardage guy in British Columbia and three more seasons in Saskatchewan before the Roughriders opted to go a different direction near the end of the 2022 campaign.
“When we took the field with a minute or whatever left on the clock, I was thankful for that opportunity,” he shared. “When you grow up as a kid, you say you want the ball in your hands on the biggest stage, in the biggest game, while obviously trailing. I was thankful for that opportunity.”
“It’s God’s plan to be here and to be a Grey Cup champion. So, for all the things I went through last year, it’s God’s plan.”
Now, having extended his original two-year contract signed this past offseason into a three-year deal, Fajardo will look to make a permanent residency in Quebec. The Brea, California product was actually away from his wife and child for the entire 2023 season, only seeing them twice prior to the Grey Cup weekend.
“It’s been emotional, it’s a rollercoaster,” Fajardo said in a post-game conversation with Joey Alfieri. “I owe a lot to my wife, because my wife said that we’re not done last year after losing seven-straight games. She said we’ve got a lot more football left. When she made that commitment to stay home with our son Luca and work a full-time job, it allowed me to come up to Montreal and play the game that I love with no bearings on anything else. That’s what families do for you.”
The now seven-year professional football veteran has 14,875 yards, 67 touchdowns and 45 interceptions to his name, while adding another 2,216 rushing yards and 38 more scores in 110 games, 61 of which he’s started.
And for now, the sky’s the limit.