April 11, 2006
QB Kerry Joseph is expected
to go top three.
By Eric Tillman, Sportsnet Football Insider
With the clock ticking on Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET Ottawa dispersal draft, many CFL teams have had their thought processes altered signficantly based on an internal financial memo distributed to the remaining eight clubs. Sportsnet Football Insider Eric Tillman has secured a copy of the confidential document, in which the league members are informed of the specifics of the contractual responsibilities of each of the estimated 70 players eligible to be drafted.
In addition to the fact that several key players have sizeable bonuses due on April 15, the league is also requiring that teams repay Ottawa owner Bernie Glieberman any signing bonuses for players that the former club compensated earlier in 2006. That collective figure, which is in excess of $250,000, could significantly effect the anticipated draft statuses of many of the premier talents available.
This spring Renegades team president Lonie Gliberman and general manager Forrest Gregg took a radically different approach to contractual negotiations, offering players four-and five-year deals with sizeable signing bonuses. The thought process was to seek long-term player continuity as well as to "frontload" contracts in a year where the new salary cap has no punitive components.
The fact now that those player bonuses must be repaid by any club who chooses any of the players who fall in that category will factor significantly into where players are selected and possibly even preclude some from being drafted at all.
Kerry Joseph, the highly coveted quarterback expected to be among the first three players selected, has already received a $50,000 bonus with another $25,000 due this weekend. Joseph's total compensation in 2006 will be $350,000. Other players who were expected to be taken quickly, and who also have significant bonus clauses, include:
- Korey Banks, defensive back, $50,000 paid, $50,000 due this weekend and another $20,000 due in June. In addition, the all-star has a 2006 base salary of $70,000.
- Kyries Hebert, linebacker, $40,000 paid and $25,000 due this weekend. His base for 2006 is $75,000.
- Yo Murphy, wide receiver, $25,000 paid with a base of $60,000.
A myriad of others -- including punter Pat Fleming, defensive backs Dave Donaldson, Bo Rogers and DaShawn Austin, and linebacker Jason Kralt -- all have received bonuses in the $10,000-$15,000 range.
Perhaps the most complicated financial situation, however, revolves around talented playmaker, Jason Armstead, whom it is believed the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are strongly considering as the first overall selection; unless, of course, they trade the choice to Saskatchewan, who openly covets Joseph.
Under the terms of his previous deal, Armstead was scheduled to make $90,000 in 2006, plus incentives, with a $10,000 reporting bonus. The likeable Mississippi native, however, signed a substantial new deal with the Renegades earlier this spring, which it now appears the CFL has rejected due to portions they consider to be outside of league regulations (guaranteed money).
Armstead, who under the new deal was to receive a $100,000 signing bonus in three portions ($33,000 of which has already been paid) is understandably upset. As such, any team who drafts the explosive 26-year-old will be faced with a potential ugly situation, unless they are willing to renegotiate prior to training camp.
In addition to Hebert, Banks and Armstead, other players where six-figure contacts are expected to affect their draft statuses are Canadian offensive lineman Val St. Germain ($140,000), Canadian wide receiver Pat Woodcock ($120,0000), Canadian linebacker Donnavan Carter ($105,000) and American defensive back Crance Clemons ($105,000).