At least Fajardo will have some protection this year. He also has the best running back in the league, lining up behind him. Unfortunately the league allowed the Als ownership problems to go on too long and not knowing their future financial situation the Als got decimated in free agency.
The Als lost two pieces really : Geno Lewis and Picket. Geno was the franchise player but at 320k, you are crippling your roster. When you look at all the high price receivers teams walked away from this year, this proves me right. All the teams in the East have worked hard improving their roster, so the Als will be in tough to make the post season but at least now they have put a process in place where they can build from as opposed to riding out a 37 year old quarterback.
That is one of the problems I see with the CFL salary cap ... a team can be hundreds of thousands over the cap in the offseason ... players then get screwed by either getting cut mid-training camp when it is tough to find work or be "forced into a re-negotiated contract ... I have no issue with signing as many rookies as roster limits allow but out of fairness to veteran players there should be an off-season cap ceiling for vets to prevent teams from just collecting players and then slicing and dicing their contracts to make it work when crunch-time comes.
They do that in the NFL too. I recently read an article about how the New Orleans Saints are currently some $100 million over the salary cap. I’m not sure if it is just a football thing. It may be so because of the general lack of guaranteed contracts, unlike the NHL, NBA and MLB.
Don't know about the NBA, but to my understanding the NHL has an offseason cap 10% over the in-season salary-cap (plus I believe that players on LTIR at the end of the previous season factor in as well) ... MLB has no salary-cap ... teams pay "penalties if they exceed certain levels.
IMO it is the lack of guaranteed contracts in the CFL that makes off-season stock-piling of veteran contracts so unfair ... players under contract have no freedom to move but teams have no obligation to the player and can "slice & dice" at their convenience.