Realty One

Monday, December 10, 2018



The upcoming six months in the CFL will be the most important of Commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s short reign to date.

Among all of the issues that he has to deal with, the most important will be to successfully negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the players before the current CBA expires just before 2019 training camps.

There are many things big and small that are negotiated between Ambrosie (who represents the CFL governors) and CFLPA President Jeff Keeping and CFLPA Executive Director Brian Ramsay.

Here are five things we would like to see in the next CFL collective bargaining agreement:

Catch Minnesota-Seattle Monday at Famoso!

Some thought this would increase player salaries when it was originally announced during the signing of the current deal in 2014. That hasn't happened because there is still only a limited amount of money to go around. All it has done is left fans without a chance to attach themselves to their favourite player because they will be gone in just one season.

Bringing back the option-year will still allow those players who have a shot at the NFL a chance to chase their dreams. It will also allow the CFL to compete with the new AAF who currently allows players to leave for NFL opportunities in the middle of their contracts. If a player does come back to the CFL, they would have to honour the rest of their deal.


At the end of November, CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay addressed the B.C. Federation of Labour congress. His speech highlighted the inadequate health and safety that CFL players currently deal with.

From a CFLPA press release, “Our current contract has limited provisions for the medical care, rehabilitation and wage loss protection when a player is injured. Employers, no matter who they are, have a duty of care for workers who are injured on the job,” said Brian Ramsay.

This will no doubt be the one of the top negotiating points from the PA’s point of view and may also be the biggest sticking point during the next few months.


The 2018 salary cap was set at $5.2-million and it needs to be raised by at least five per cent. The League recently flexed its muscle by placing a cap on football operations, which clearly looked like it was at least, in part, a negotiating ploy for the upcoming CBA talks.

So, with the money taken from the various job losses incurred across the league due to the football ops cap, the CFL should put its money where its mouth is and give some of that to the players.

Also, let’s take practice roster salaries out of the mix. It’s not much money in the grand scheme of things, but if there was a cap number instead of a player limit, then it could give staff more freedom on what to do with the reserves. Maybe throw in a “hometown salary” for those players from the area that need a little more polish before moving on to the big roster.


It’s not a big thing, but it allows a little more money to go in the players' future allowance jar without it being a big hit to the owners.


Not a single player will receive any bonus money during this off-season until a new CBA is signed. This was passed down from the CFL head office to the nine clubs.

This is not a great first step in quickly negotiating a new deal and is a ploy by the league to withhold the players of their duly-earned bonus money. We wonder if the CFL governors know that the deal ends in May. The players held up their end, you should too.

This may sound very heavy in favour of the players, but this has never been a player’s league and with so little money to go around it’s time for the players to get a bigger piece of the pie.

Canadian to Watch in the NCAA

We know we said that the Canadians to watch down south was over, but after watching the FCS quarterfinals and seeing the upcoming bowl schedule, we will keep this going until the end of November.

DeShawn Stevens (Soph.) - LB
6’1” 250lbs.
Hometown – Toronto, Ont.
High School – Kent School (Connecticut)
Class – Jr.

One of the leaders of the Black Bear defence is Canadian sophomore DeShawn Stevens. He led Maine in tackles with 112, second in tackles for loss with 16.5, second in sacks with nine while adding an interception and two fumble recoveries.

Stevens was outstanding in the Black Bears FCS quarterfinals win over Weber State on Friday night with nine total tackles, two TFLs and a sack. He along with starting offensive lineman Liam Dobson (soph.) and the rest of the Black Bears will face the Eastern Washington Eagles Saturday afternoon in the FCS semi-finals.

( Staff)


Old Rider Fan said...

Point #1. Agree. In fact I would consider min 3 year contracts. Instead of trying to make recruiting easier with the carrot of ... "You can go to the NFL next year." Talent is a relative thing. U.S. college is exciting and popular yet most players couldn't make even the CFL. Quality also comes from 'consistency' as proven by Calgary. Our revolving door of players results in poorer football ... in a game that requires 12 guys to work together like clockwork.

Football Fan said...

Wow. Must be someone new writing this piece. I pretty much agree with all of this, except for the "pursuing their NFL dreams" part. The NFL offers big money and I certainly don't have a problem with players going for that, because it could be life changing money and could set them and their family up for life, but this groveling "dream of playing in the NFL" stuff is nauseating, especially from Canadians.

I would add a few things to this, however:

1. The minimum salary needs to be increased to somewhere between 75k and 100k. This will be needed to compete with the AAF for entry level players.

2. I would move the season up two to four weeks, and in order to make that work you'd have to streamline the draft process.

3. Further to above, I would put in a set pay scale for draft picks so there was no time lost in negotiation. Players could even not sign with an agent until after their first contract. I would also look at a system inspired by the AAF system where players would sign contracts with the league and the contracts would be transfered to the teams after the draft. This would mean that the players drafted would already be under contract to the league so teams wouldn't have to worry about them spending years trying the NFL. Players who do want to try the NFL would not be eligible for that draft and would have to enter a later draft. This could be next year, or perhaps the mid season supplemental draft, or if there were a lot of them there could be some kind of mid season second draft. One thing to note is that if the season is moved up there will be very little of the season left when these players typically decide to come back to the CFL, so entering the draft for the next year makes some sense, but it also opens up the risk that they might sign with the AAF. So essentially it would work like this. There would be a deadline - 2 days, 3 days, or maybe a week, after the NFL draft - where players could assess their NFL options and decide if they want to try the NFL or enter the CFL draft. If they choose to enter the CFL draft then they would sign the contract with the league, and then the draft could be held within days of that deadline because the teams would know exactly who was in the draft and who wasn't and they would know that the players in the draft had already signed contracts.

*There may be reasons why you'd want to tinker with this, and maybe only have the pay scale and transferable contracts for players drafted in say the first three rounds, and maybe include some guaranteed money for those picks from the first three rounds, but this is the general idea.

Unknown said...

They also need to increase the ability to penalize players. The max fine/suspensions in place now is not a deterrent for repeat offenders. My understanding is that the CFL can't do any more than they currently do on fines/suspensions because of the CBA. They need to fix that.

Safimod said...

To @Football Fan:

I can't ever see a league instituting a rule that forces a player to sign a contract (especially one with a value that may change depending on where you are drafted) just to enter a draft. That's just not how drafts work. All you would get out of that is fewer Canadian players entering the CFL draft.