Eskimos could determine fate of CFL

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In the middle of winter - when the media spotlight is almost exclusively on the hockey world - the CFL is about to make some major noise.

When the league's governors meet next week in Arizona, commissioner Tom Wright is hoping a salary management system will be approved for the 2006 season.

Although very few details in the salary system proposal are being publicly discussed, rumours suggest a $3.8-million salary cap for each team is the key component. The issue will be the hot topic of the meetings and Wright believes it will go to a vote.

Six of nine teams will need to vote in favour of the cap for it to pass - and that is where the politics become really interesting.

There seems to be a solid group of at least five teams supporting the idea.

However, according to widespread speculation, B.C. Lions' owner David Braley and outspoken Montreal Alouettes' moneyman Bob Wetenhall are opposed to a cap.

If those teams vote in that fashion, the Edmonton Eskimos could hold a pivotal swing vote - determining the fate of the salary system.

With millions upon millions in the bank and the highest paid player in the loop - QB Ricky Ray at more than $400,000 per year - some suggest the Eskimos want nothing to do with a team salary limit. However, chief operating officer Rick LeLacheur was part of the six-member committee that formed the cap proposal with the commissioner.

"I think the work by the salary management team has been thorough," said Wright. "It has been responsible and fair in taking a look at the needs of all of our member clubs."

LeLacheur and the committee also received input from outside the CFL.

"We had some resources that did a lot of due diligence in looking at other leagues to develop some ideas on best practices from the NFL, the NBA, the MLB and NHL," continued Wright.

But LeLacheur isn't revealing which way the Eskimos are leaning.

"We will have to see what goes on at the meeting and what the discussion is," he remarked.

"There might be somebody that wasn't on the committee that thinks of something; a recommendation could be amended or changed.

"We will see what happens and then make the best decision that we think is fit for the Eskimos and the CFL."

There is no doubting where Wright stands on the most contentious issue in the league.

"I think (approving the cap) is important because, ultimately, it comes down to the notion of trying to ensure that we have strong, competitive balance across the league," he said from the CFL's head office in Toronto.

"It is something that is the hallmark of every league across the continent."

But Wright won't make a prediction on how the board meetings will unfold in Scottsdale, Arizona. "I am not a speculator in that regard," he said.

the highest payroll in the cfl voting yes to a cap,dont think that will happen.
the eskies like having the chance to sign anybody they want.

How is that a swing vote that see 6 teams need to vote for a cap only BC and Montreal are against and the Eskimos possibly with the two above that leaves six team to vote for the cap!

I noticed that too, I think they just made a mistake in writing the article. I heard on sportsnet that ottawa was also against the cap, as well as hamilton, montreal, and bc. Although the esks will more than likely vote against a cap, the above teams have already decided against it. Anyone considering bashing the esks b/c of a salary cap should be upset with the teams who are already decided against the idea of a cap first.

.........good point........

Well, the Esks will like to keep their buying-up-everyone-and-their-dog ways, but I think it's high time for them to bite their tongue and do what's best for the LEAGUE. If the Esks are the ones that shoot down the cap - as they would be, since Young (Hamilton), Braley and Wettenhall are always the 3 disconsenting parties - then there will be even more reason for me to hate the Esks. So what I have to say to Hughie Campbell is: Suck it up, make the sacrifice, do what's best for everyone, approve the cap, and realize that you'll still be on level ground with every other team anyway - it's not like the Esks are going to be at a huge disadvantage if a cap comes around. Unless their penchant for buying up talent ends up showing they can't compete on a level playing field?
I don't understand why Ottawa and Montreal are against a cap ... Montreal keeps complaining about not making enough money (take that as you will, but their claim has to do with their small stadium; I still think they're actually doing fine) and we all know the situation Ottawa's in. Why Ottawa would be against a cap is against me ... Lonie seems to be pretty frugal; but maybe he's trying to change his ways? Considering Ottawa suffers from the lowest attendance in the League (hence likely the lowest profits), you'd think they'd be one of the groups clamouring for a cap.
And although I have bashed the Esks, and will continue to do so, I am still mad with those definitely not wanting the cap. The thing is, if the Esks hold the swing vote, it comes down to them ... hence we shall see if they selfishly vote down a cap, or if they look out for someone other than themselves and approve it.

my brother and i both love the cfl.he used to be a calgary fan now he moved to edmonton he has jumped on the eskies bandwagon.
that is why i have to hate the eskies more than any other team.i also dont like the fact they can buy any player they want.i think its like cheating.i would love to see a equal playing field for all teams.it would make it a closer race come playoff time.i cant believe the poorest team in the cfl is going against the cap.the gliebs want to spend money on the same players they had last year.last year was such a great seoson for ottowa they should give all the players huge raises then go into the season and finish last in the east .then cry to the league that they are broke and made no money and are about to go bankrupt and ottowa looses there team because they have no cash and the gleibs blame the fans for not wanting to watch the rens not make the playoffs.the gleibs are pretty stupid if you ask me.this is why i vote for the cap.

I am more pissed at BC and MTL for their automatic disaproval of the Cap. Especially when the Mtl guy was on the commitee that made the proposal.

At least some logical rider fans exist....(Billy Soup)

A cap is hard to say i think the casp is good as of now but a bigger could really change things in the league so i am for a larger cap.

Oh esk123. Don't get me wrong, I still hate the Esks, and think they have bought their team, in the essence that they out bid other teams to get the big FA's, for the last 30 years. (Yes I know they do a damn good recruiting and training job themselves). But At least they haven't systematicly refused this cap....yet.

I don't see how anyone can say in sports that a team can be "bought". Sure spending more money can help, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee wins. All of the esks playoff games this year were extremely close and could have easily gone either way. And it's not like they annihalated all the teams they played in the regular season(finishing 11-7). Is it the esks organization's fault that they have such good attendance, were able to make lots of money off of the trappers baseball team and as a result were able to spend more for specific player's salaries. No its not. They aren't breaking any rules as there has never been a salary management system or salary cap in effect. Do you honeslty think you'd just let other teams outbid you for players even if you did have the money to sign them? I know I probably haven't changed anyone's minds, and personally I think debates like this go nowhere. Everyone believes what is best for their team and is not willing to change their views. I'm done discussing this.

I never said they did anything technically wrong. It is exactly why a Salary Cap is needed, so things like this cannot be disputed.

is not our fault we support our team more than anyone

I don't think a championship team can be bought but having more talented players than other teams does help. In the end you are still going to need chemistry and good coaching but if you don't have the skill level you will have a tough time winning a championship.

I'd like to see all teams on even ground and the team who has the best management, scouts, coaching, chemistry, and heart will win the grey cup. Not the team that can afford the high price quarterback with total disregard of the salary cap while other teams are left with the scraps.

I've also witnessed it work in other leagues such as the NHL and the NFL and have seen how well it has brought parity to the league and that year after year fans have hope that their team can win. I've also witnessed MLB with their so called luxury tax which some teams don't even reach half of and how they struggle while teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have winning teams every single year. This is not because of the coaching but because of the skill they can buy. I also realize baseball isn't as much of a team sport as football or hockey but skill and talent in any sport is a major factor when deciding the outcome of games.

While a salary cap is necessary for any sports league to be viable in north america to say or imply that the eskimos won the grey cup because theyre were able to throw around money is an excuse from fans of the "poor" teams that had to go after the eskimos scraps. The eskimos were not the best team last year. In the regular season they were a good but beatable team and bounced between 2 and 3 all year in the west then they got some key plays in the playoffs which won them games. Their best players were at their best when it mattered most and that won them the grey cup. The guys that helped them get the grey cup the msot were Maas, Tucker and Ray. Maas and Tucker were there for years while Ray was with the esks originally before he went to the NFL you had to figure that the esks would at the very least be on his short list of teams hed want to play for

I don't see the Evil Empire doing that. That's like hoping that Darth Vader will turn back to good, but of course that never happens. But let's not put all of the blame on the Evil Empire (as much as I want to), BC and Montreal are just as guilty.

a stable league is in the best interest of all the teams…and a salary cap…to quote Garry Bettman…gives cost certainy…and thats what the league needs…get it done all ready