Chad Kelly, Jim Kelly’s nephew, becomes highest-paid player in CFL with Toronto Argonauts

The Kelly family is continuing to make history.

Chad Kelly, nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, signed a three-year contract extension with the Toronto Argonauts, the Canadian Football League announced on Thursday. The Toronto Star reports the deal is worth $1.865 million, making him the highest-paid player in the league.

Kelly said that the deal “means the world to me” and that the team has made it easy for him to feel confident in his role. He has played nine games for the Argonauts this year in his second season with the team. They are currently 8-1 and at the top of the East Division. He helped them win the 2022 Gray Cup, stepping up in the fourth quarter when McLeod Bethel-Thompson was injured and marching them downfield to set up the game-winning touchdown.

“There’s so many people to thank day in and day out that make everything possible,” the 29-year-old told media in a press conference about the deal. “I wanted to do this because I want everybody to know that I’m committed to making this team better, for producing for Toronto. I love it here. I want to spend the next 50 years here.”

Chad Kelly is the highest-paid player in the CFL after signing a three-year, $1.865 million extension with the Toronto Argonauts.

Kelly cited growing up in nearby Grand Island, New York, near where his uncle starred as quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, as reason for him to be excited about establishing himself up north.

General Manager Michael “Pinball” Clemons said that Kelly’s heart for the community is part of what makes him special.

“To kind of be in a position where your star quarterback is also a guy who really embraces community, enjoys community is, I hate to say the bonus in this situation because there’s so many bonuses, there’s so many other things that he’s been able to do for us,” he said, “but there’s a tremendous, tremendous energy that is apparent in our locker room, outside of our locker room and in our league because Chad Kelly is there.”

After starring at Ole Miss, Kelly was drafted in 2017 by the Denver Broncos as Mr. Irrelevant with the last pick. He spent one season in the NFL in 2018 when he played in one game as a backup. The Broncos sent him to the Indianapolis Colts during the season. He was on the Colts’ practice squad before he was let go in 2020.

3 Down Nation reports that Kelly’s contract includes a $250,000 signing bonus for the 2024 season, but it will be voided if he signs with an NFL team.

When asked if the NFL is still in his plans, Kelly reiterated his desire to play in the CFL.

“I’m committed to being here right now,” he said. “My focus is being here. Do I want to stay in Toronto? Yes, I do. My focus is this year and whatever happens beyond is out of my control, but I’m committed to being a Toronto Argonaut.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chad Kelly becomes highest-paid player in CFL

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