CFL raises Salary Cap to $4.05 million

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CFL teams will have a bit more money to spend on player payroll next season.

The league’s board of governors agreed on a new $4.05 million salary cap figure Friday that will be implemented in 2007. The figure is up from the $3.8 million that league governors had initially approved last January.

CFL governors approved the new cap in the off-season, but agreed not to begin officially enforcing it until next season to give clubs a year to adjust to the new plan.

“The establishment of an agreed upon salary cap is the next critical component in the foundation we are trying to build with the salary management system,” commissioner Tom Wright said in a prepared statement. “It’s a significant step in what we are trying to do financially and to establish cost certainty.”

Calgary Stampeders president Ted Hellard, the chairman of the CFL’s salary management committee, said the new cap figure should allow teams the flexibility to be competitive.

“The entire salary management system has been a well thought-out process and the final step to that process was determining an actual cap number for 2007,” he said. "The teams, both through the governors and the operators, looked at their various costs and commitments - in other words how much they thought they could run a team on.

“Then through a process of constructive discussion, we were able to come up with a figure that teams are comfortable with in terms of being able to deliver a quality product on the field while retaining the type of cost certainty they thought could help their business operate.”

Hellard, who also chairs the CFL’s franchise committee, said the board also discussed the return of the league to Ottawa. The league suspended the Renegades franchise in the off-season after the former owners wouldn’t cover the club’s projected 2006 loss.

At the time the Renegades’ franchise was suspended, Wright said it was his hope that the CFL would return to the Canadian capital next season. But recent reports have suggested that 2008 is a more logical timeline.

Hellard said the next phase is for the franchise committee to meet with representatives of the groups - reported to be three - that submitted letters of intent to the CFL on Sept 9. Hellard expects those meetings to take place in the next two weeks.

“We’re pressing hard to try to find that date, but it will happen when it’s convenient for everybody to get together,” Hellard said. "The league office has never made a factual statement that there will be no team in Ottawa-Gatineau in 2007.

“However, having said that, if you follow logic as we go down the selection process to try to find a partner, the further that process pushes out the smaller the window becomes on which anybody can logically launch a franchise in 2007. From our perspective, that decision really is one that has to be made in unison with that chosen partner. Until you have a partner you really can’t have a discussion about an actual starting date.”

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have never spent as much on players as they're spending this season.

And they'd better get used to it.

The CFL has adjusted the salary cap for next season, the first year the new salary system is to be enforced.

Teams will be allowed to spend $4.05 million on players in 2007, up from the $3.8 million that was originally planned.

If that doesn't get your attention, how about this: Bomber president/CEO Lyle Bauer last night revealed the team is spending at least that much this season.

"We're over that," Bauer told the Sun, referring to the $4.05 million cap number. "The majority of teams are over that. We have to keep pace."

As a community-owned franchise, the Bombers have traditionally been at or near the bottom of the list of CFL's big spenders.

Last season, for instance, their player budget was around $3.4 million, while other teams were breaking the $4 million mark.

The fact Winnipeg has boosted spending to that level this season can be directly attributed to the presence of the Grey Cup game here on Nov. 19.

"The good thing is our football team is in a firm position to be able to do that," Bauer said. "Now we're in a position where we can compete. That was obvious in the off-season. And during the season, too."

It actually began on the first day of free agency back in February, when the team signed star linebacker Barrin Simpson, the former B.C. Lion.

DIDN'T HESITATE

It continued when the Bombers picked up defender Kyries Hebert and his healthy contract from the now defunct Ottawa Renegades.

They didn't hesitate to write cheques when they ran into injury trouble along the offensive line, either, signing former NFLers Eric Wilson and Garrick Jones.

Most recently, they beat out Saskatchewan and Edmonton to grab receiver Derick Armstrong, another former NFLer who's bolstered the team's passing attack significantly the last two weeks.

The question is, how will the Bombers be able to continue their free-spending ways in years they don't reap extra profits from the Grey Cup game, expected to bring in $2 million to $3 million.

"That's how," Bauer said, pointing to the east side stands, nearly full for last night's game against the Montreal Alouettes.

The rising salary cap is also a sign the league is in good financial health overall.

The agreement with the players stipulates that 56% of league revenue goes to salaries. So CFL governors are obviously projecting continued revenue growth next season.

Bloody heck!, Bombers are even over 4.05 Million? seems the citys can spend more on teams than the league thinks they can.

I thought they were going to enforce the cap this year?

Oh well, if they can't enforce it, or, if it is just a guideline or a recommendation, maybe they should just forget the cap altogether.

But, some of you are going to suggest that some owners will spend their way into bankruptcy without the cap.

The cap protects the owners.

The Cap will be inforced starting next year to allow teams some time to get under it.

The cap is only rising because revenues are

With a little more cash to work with, maybe they can keep some more players, and sign them to longer contracts.

I have previously stated how the salary cap should be $5M and the players active roster should be increased to 50. Right now we have a 46 man roster, of which only 42 play. In this day and age that is way too small. One of my QB's and I would now increase to 4 would be a Canadian developmental roster spot for one.

I like the idea of having one non-import QB per team.

Also, each team should have to play that QB for at least one offencive drive per season.

$250,000 isnt gonna make a difference...

without the cap, the league wouldn't be here today as we know it.

I say keep the player as they are now at 42, but no segragate the QB posistion, as I believe you can do under the current import rules, and just have 22 Canadians Vs. 20 imports.

All power to the league for getting a Salary Cap. It's bout time they do it. it will shut everyone up.

Now Commissioner Campbell won't have to hide as much of his salaries as he's had to in the past! :wink: