Article: CFL stars deserve level playing field

Great article about how the current CBA rules benefit the teams heavily and not the players.

I've said for some time that this culture of tossing players aside with no repercussions for the teams doesn't Help the league and has created a 1 year Fantasy football mentality when it comes to free agency.

And many a CFL player has taken the opportunity provided him here and turned it into a NFL invite, often times forsaking the remaining years he is legally obligated to that team.

I think back to the example of Simeon Rottier, who the Tiger cats spent his first years in the league mentoring and developing. He then left, even though he was offered best in position money to be closer to home.

Players also leave for better money and career positions

Yes, it's their right to do so.

But, the door swings BOTH ways.

And a contract requires a signature from both parties.

However, in this case, only one side is compelled to honour the contract. The other side can end it at any time.

But the player who wants to go south is expecting the CFL to ignore those signatures....especially theirs....

False. Both sides are obliged to honor the contract and the release term is a condition in favour of the team that is not hidden from the player. In fact, the player has an agent to give them advice and to explain the contract and its terms to them in detail. During negotiations, the agent can (try to) negotiate this out of the contract prior to agreeing to the terms. Moreover, the players have the opportunity to seek legal advice from the solicitor of their choice before putting pen to paper.

Just because people do not like the terms of an agreement (especially those who are not a party to it) does not mean that the terms are unfair. Two parties, both with representation, agree to terms and accept the contract they have negotiated. How is that unfair? And, contrary to the author of the article from the OP, this is not an "inequality in the system." See: the Dressler quote from the article - “Going into that, having signed for four years at that stage, I understood that going through the four years might not happen,? Dressler said last March during CFL Week. I guess he understood the contract well before he signed it.

The assertion that because coaches and GMs are (assumed) to be paid more than the players, any release or a renegotiation of a contract is a power imbalance that is "unfair" is based upon nothing more than the author's opinion. In fact, it presents an opinion based upon envy. Read: someone has more stuff or a higher position than me, therefore they are asserting power over me in an exploitive way and should just give me some of their stuff because I want it and it is not fair that they make/have more than me. Ridiculous. Trying to frame all relationships through the lens of the failed Marxist ideology of exploitation and conflict is getting very tiresome. It has been debunked. Let it go.

Finally, the author seems to think that doing community service should confer some benefit to the player when contracts are renegotiated. If players are doing community service for any reason other than the benefit of the community they are doing it for the wrong reasons and should stop. Charity for personal gain is evil.

BillyDee: You sure are passionate about teams being able to terminate contracts at any time. If that were to change for some reason, as an outcome of the next round of collective bargaining, would you be dismayed at the improved position of the players? Or would you be equally passionate about enforcing the letter of the law in the next iteration of the agreement?

Anyway, you're also good at refuting arguments that no one made. No one said anything about the proletariat and the bourgeoisie here. It is simply a fact that the team can terminate a contract whenever it wants, while players cannot do the same. Fair or not, it is certainly asynchronous, in favour of the teams. The players all know that, of course. No one said they don't. Perhaps they used their collective bargaining power to achieve some other goal, like the right to one-year contracts.

And it is disingenuous to imply that players can overcome this through negotiations or better legal advice. That is about as likely as a player negotiating a percentage of the TV rights.

Players have always been the weaker party in the negotiations, and as a result they have been forced to settle for this highly disadvantageous feature in their contracts.

When have you ever met an economic conservative, or any conservative for that matter, that didn't pander to the wealthy and economically advantaged ?...And then throw out terms like "Marxist" as if they are some sort of expert on the subject? ? ? All union members a "Commies" and ingrate's ,don't ya' know? It's in their two dimensional DNA , just as is a submission to authority complex dressed up as " individual freedom"....

The only issue I have with this subject which implies "guaranteed" contracts is "dead money" against the cap. There would have to be some provision or mechanism to eliminate or reduce this probable eventuality.

If contracts were "guaranteed", in my opinion many teams would not sign many players if any at all to contract more than a year. The risk of having "dead money" hitting your salary cap is too great. So we'd really be back in the same situation.

It's a fine line. I of course would like to see the players get more income/career stability On the other hand I really would not like to get into a situation where the team I cheer for is handcuffed for multiple years having to keep a player because they can't cut them due to financial considerations or having to continue to pay a player thus counting against the cap that is no longer on your roster.

It'd sure make management sharpen their pencils and really give second thought to signing a player to anything more than one year.

Positives & Negatives on both sides of this matter for sure.

Well I don't know if the CFL CBA negotiations really represent a historic clash of opposing economic classes pitting Karl Marx and the proletariat hordes against Ayn Rand and her cabal of bourgeois capitalists in a best two of three falls match, and all things being equal I would be happy to see the players have more job security.

But there's only so much money to go around in the CFL, and establishing guaranteed contracts will certainly add to payroll costs for the teams. They could respond by increasing ticket prices (watch the fans howl about that option), or ask TSN to pay more for the TV rights (good luck with that), or cut salaries to offset the cost of the guarantee (ditto), or just go ahead and raise the cap and absorb the added cost, reducing their negligible-to-nonexistent profits in the interest of greater amity and out of a sense of fairness (unlikely in the extreme).

I suspect FenderGuy is right-- if this were to be negotiated, one year contracts would be the norm, if not universal. Roster continuity would decline even further than at present. I would regret that. More likely I think, the new CBA will not include a comprehensive guarantee of payment when a player is cut. The money just isn't there to fund it. But that's a guess.

Why would 1 year contracts be the norm? They're the norm now because a player figures there's no point in making a one sided committment.

Partial guaranteed contracts would make players take 2nd and 3rd years at the expense of some additional money... "A bird in the hand".

Sadly enough players are disposable and replaceable. It's what have you done for me lately. I don't think this will change considering sports is a short team employment opportunity.

Lots of players sign multi-year contracts... Collaros had one here, Masoli and Langa are the most recent examples.

Re your second point, players might well like the idea of a reduced but guaranteed contract, but why would owners offer that and face the risks FenderGuy described? I doubt they would offer them.

I'm not sure if you think calling someone a "conservative" is a pejorative but it is not. If that was your intention you should know that ad hominems are not arguments. They are not even positions or premises. Also, I would consider myself a libertarian. Look it up.

Umm.... I disagree with your premise (to an argument which you have not proven) that the players are in a disadvantaged position, so I do not know how to answer that questions.

Anyway, you're also good at refuting arguments that no one made. No one said anything about the proletariat and the bourgeoisie here.
I never said they did. But if you read the article in the OP you will find the angle the article is written from is typically Marxist.
It is simply a fact that the team can terminate a contract whenever it wants, while players cannot do the same.
False. Players can retire, not show up to camp. etc. etc. They are not restricted in finding other employment.
Fair or not, it is certainly asynchronous, in favour of the teams. The players all know that, of course. No one said they don't. Perhaps they used their collective bargaining power to achieve some other goal, like the right to one-year contracts.

And it is disingenuous to imply that players can overcome this through negotiations or better legal advice. That is about as likely as a player negotiating a percentage of the TV rights.

Players have always been the weaker party in the negotiations, and as a result they have been forced to settle for this highly disadvantageous feature in their contracts.


Again, I do not agree. I have offered some arguments as to why. You have just repeated the same position over and over as if it is truth.

Going from non-guaranteed contracts to guaranteed contracts would be an improved position. It is self-evident. That question did not depend on anyone being disadvantaged.

I just wondered if you're a big fan of non-guaranteed contracts, or a big believer that all negotiated outcomes are by definition fair and optimal.

You missed the implied words at the end of my sentence: "players cannot do the same and continue to work in their profession in this country."

The equivalent for football teams would be to say that they can terminate any contract they like, but then their roster must be one man short for the duration of the contract, or they cannot not play anyone at left tackle, etc. Not exactly a viable option.

Tough to prove a qualitative statement. It would be just as hard for you to prove that the players are in a stronger position, or that the two sides are of equal strength.

But here's some info to support my claim. In 2014 the value of the TV rights increased from $15 million to $40 million, or $2.7 million per team. In that year's collective bargaining negotiations, the players started out by asking for a cap increase of $1.84 million per team plus some kind of revenue sharing. In the end, they settled for an initial $600k increase per team to $5 million (equal to the league's initial offer), increasing by $50k per year, and no revenue sharing. You're free to disagree, but that is evidence of either a weaker position or ineffective negotiating.

Vanstone is a hypocrite. When Taman was signing players with back loaded deals to defeat the spirit and intent of the SMS. He was one of the biggest cheerleaders. Now that Montreal releases his grossly underperforming buddy, he now goes on a crusade.

An interesting approach would be to tie the guarantee to the length of the contract. For example:

  • One-year contracts are not guaranteed

  • Two-year contracts, 25% of the base salary is guaranteed

  • Three-year contracts, 50% is guaranteed

That would increase the incentive for players to commit to a team, thereby helping to address what I consider to be one of the biggest problems of the modern CFL, which is all the players jumping from team to team every year. It gets harder for me to relate to the players on my team. And as we all know, it drives many people absolutely batty when former Ticats succeed with other teams.

(Note: my suggestions works way better for veterans than for rookies, most of whom don't actually make it past their first training camp. And as FenderGuy initially mentioned, I'd prefer to find a way that the payout does not count against the cap. Even if it didn't, it still gives teams an incentive only to sign long-term contracts with players they really want.)

There are more 1 year deals than ever. Yes QBs generally sign longer deals but again... What did collaros get for signing that deal? He got paid for the years the team believes he deserved that money and then the team walks away Scott free.

On the flip side let's say Masoli goes out and has the best year in CFL history. He wants a raise next year. Too bad you signed a 2 year contract.

Same situation but both scenarios benefit the Ticats.

As for your question... Why would owners offer the partially guaranteed contracts?

Because they want said player.

Many possibilities exist. To me, the question is whether they are affordable in the CFL. I don't think guaranteed contracts are affordable in this league, and I doubt they will be in the next CBA.