“They would probably frown on that, but right now I am free and clear to do as I please,’’ said Babin, who was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time last season. “I could play in the Canadian Football League if I wanted to.?
Oh yeah, that’s the other thing. Babin is entertaining thoughts of jumping to the CFL or the United Football League if those leagues can build some momentum during the lockout. Both leagues have extended “feelers? to him and other free agents, Babin said.
“I know those leagues would love to grow their awareness and if they got a certain amount of high-profile guys to join in, the money would go from the NFL pool to the CFL or UFL pool and maybe they could negotiate a TV deal,? Babin said. “Now that would scare the (stuffing) out of the NFL owners if they could pull something like that off, you know?
Meanwhile, teams from the Canadian Football League have been putting out feelers to NFL players' agents. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, among other teams, would welcome any locked-out NFL players who need to keep their incomes flowing. With the federal mediator requesting a media blackout, we haven't heard much from ownership lately, but do the Canucks know something we don't?[url]http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/phones+aren+ringing/4422917/story.html[/url]
Though it was not an official agenda item at last weekend's CFL evaluation camp in Toronto, the talk among some in attendance was a possible move toward restoring the option-year clause.There's still a while before CFL camps open, lots of time to make any rule changes. Its been discussed in other forums that guys like Babin jumping ship is highly unlikely. My question to posters is not about what's likely to happen but what do you think should happen. Pretend you're commish Mark Cohon. What would you handle things?
Do nothing. You have a brand new CBA in place which you just negotiated. Teams would be required to respect NFL contracts as if they were in effect. Teams could sign NFL FAs if they like to the minimum 2 year plus option deal with no allowance to let players out of their contracts early to return to the NFL once the lockout is over. Do you just bank on getting a decent TV deal regardless of the presence of any NFL player on the roster since American Networks will be looking to fill their NFL time slots and feed the American appetite for football.
Try to capitalize on the lockout and increase your brand name and recognition. Certainly a league like the UFL which is swimming in debt and begging for exposure while on its last legs is probably licking its chops trying to find a way to attract some NFL names to their product to increase their exposure and improve their TV deal. Like Babin suggests, if the league went ahead and signed a couple of NFL players per team they might be able to get a better US TV deal for the upcoming season and improve their exposure in the US market. That TV money could be subdivided per team to pay for the players contracts and could have further dividends down the road. The problem here is that the league would pretty much have to assure any NFL player that signs a CFL deal that they will have the ability to return to the NFL once a new CBA is in place, which theoretically can happen midseason. How would those contracts fit under the cap? And how would such moves affect the overall roster? As was apparently discussed informally at the ecamp - do you allow teams to sign guys to the old one yr plus option? Do you maybe create a roster exception for a couple guys per team?