Ottawa will have to wait while...

...league decides on expansion draft formula.

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The process of putting together an expansion draft for Ottawa’s return to the CFL in 2013 is proving to be a challenging process.

The CFL has been working for months to get agreement on a formula that would allow Ottawa an opportunity to enter the CFL competitively when its new stadium is complete. But after much internal debate among its member teams and no resolution, the league has opted to postpone a vote originally scheduled for Thursday’s board of governors meeting until the week of the Grey Cup.

Several teams say the proposed expansion draft is far too generous, would unfairly strip existing teams of their quarterbacks and Canadian depth, and give Ottawa an unfair advantage.

“We are in discussions with our teams about the workings of the expansion draft that will accommodate a team in Ottawa, perhaps as early as the 2013 season,? said Kevin McDonald, the CFL's Director of Football Operations. “We hope to have a plan in place later this year, so everyone can plan accordingly.?

Ottawa’s return to the CFL is still a while off but owners of the new team have already started putting out feelers for a potential general manager whom they hope to hire in roughly a year. They are anxious to see the expansion draft put to rest, so that potential general managers know what they’ll have to work with.

The Ottawa group was assured by the league upon buying a conditional franchise in 2008 that it would have access to enough to players to field a competitive team out of the gate.

That was critical since there is concern about whether the market would endure more seasons of losing, having been disappointed by the CFL so often in the past. The Ottawa Renegades, which lasted four seasons from 2002-05 won four, seven, five and seven games during their existence but never reached the playoffs. Previous to that, the Ottawa Rough Riders, who folded after the 1996 season, had not won more games than they lost in a single season since 1979.

“I think the CFL, to a team, realize how vital it is we start out strong,? said Jeff Hunt, head of the Ottawa ownership group. “No matter what else we do – full, brand new stadium, new revitalized site, strong local ownership – everyone's credibility will be measured by the performance on the field. A great first season can almost single-handily wipe out 20-plus years of poor performance and change the way the city, and country, feel about Ottawa football. What an opportunity.?

But establishing just what is a fair expansion draft formula hasn’t been easy, especially when it comes to getting the buy-in from member teams on what’s being proposed.

Last time Ottawa came back to the CFL, the expansion draft allowed existing CFL teams to protect two quarterbacks from their active roster. They could protect nine American players and could lose only one, while protecting seven Canadians, with a limit of four offensive lineman and one kicker. Following one round of selecting Canadians, the existing CFL teams were allowed to protect another six.

In all, Ottawa wound up with 32 players – eight quarterbacks (some on the negotiation list), eight American players and 16 Canadian players.

This time it’s being proposed that each existing CFL team would be able to protect just one active quarterback, with Ottawa limited to selecting a total of three. Teams would also have to make available one offensive lineman, receiver and defensive back who were regulars during the previous season, regardless of nationality.

That would mean each current CFL team could lose one quarterback or kicker (from its active roster or negotiation list), two American players and two Canadians, plus an additional player off the negotiation list.

Ottawa would end up with three active quarterbacks, two active kickers, 16 Canadians, 16 Americans and 11 players taken from existing negotiation lists.

It’s being proposed the draft take place in March, roughly three weeks after the start of free agency, with Ottawa having the right to bid and match salaries for any free agents not signed by that time.

Though Ottawa struggled during its four seasons from 2002-05, some in the league attribute that to organizational problems and not an unfair expansion draft.

The proposed formula is a little unclear to me, but does it not seem strange do have the draft in the middle of free agency?

I think the old expansion idea, taking a third string quarterback, would never work in Ottawa. We need results by 2014 (the year Ottawa hosts the Grey Cup) or fans will probably do what they did with the Renegades: Not show up.
If Ottawa could get, say, Chris Leak, I think that would work out great for the franchise. He has a hell of an arm, lead Florida to a National Championship, and he's only 25. Please CFL, give Ottawa the chance at backup quarterbacks!

I think that part of it will happen.

I know some people think Ottawa got hosed last time around, but the quarterback position is the only area in which I think that's true. It could have been better but the expansion draft is only for a foundation, not for your superstars.

One of the biggest problems is the Canadian content. It has to be REDUCED, there are just not enough good Canadian players out there. I know that this is a sore point for a lot of fans but when you bring one more team into the leauge it means you have to find another 20 or so Canadians. If the existing teams will not give up players then Ottawa is stuck playing Canadians that were cut from other teams.

The league must stand up to the players union and say we are reducing the Canadian content. I want to see the best players on the field, not players out there that are playing becuase they are guaranteed a spot because of their nationality.

You are contradicting yourself geoffyguy; first you say this:

Then you reverse yourself and say this:

Chris Leak is Montreal’s third string QB. . .

Guess I kind of did. I thought Chris Leak was still the backup, not the third-stringer. But the point I was trying to make is that Ottawa will need a CFL caliber quarterback, not a cheap third-stringer.

After everything the CFL has done to footbal fans in Ottawa, the least they could do is make sure they field a competitive team out of the gate. The very least...

I think the idea was to have the free agents signed and on rosters so they either had to be protected or made available to Ottawa.
Last time teams didn't have to protect their FA's and Ottawa couldn't sign any until the FA season opened, which was several weeks after the draft. Ottawa did sign a few later but because all the FA's were pretty well exempt from the draft (as Ottawa didn't want to waste a pick if they weren't sure they could sign them) teams were able to protect just about all their Canadians that could start.

Personally, I would like to see Ottawa be able start off the first year just having to start 3 Canadians. 5 the next year and 7 the third year. That way they could develop their draft picks and sign a few free agents to eventually get to 7 or 8 starters and be competetive at the same time.
But the players union would probably put up a fight.

The GM's never want to give up their hard to find Canadian starters. So that would be a win win situation way of doing things IMO. But things that make sense quite often get stone walled by some self interests, so I'm not optimistic.

Will Doucet ever give up??

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That's his job to represent what he feels are his "bread and butter" constituents in his riding I suppose.

The CFL owes Ottawa a break. The league stepped in to save the Argos and Ti-Cats, yet let the Renegades fold.

Great!! Clive loses again! His attempt to stop the rezoning has failed


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Yes you are right - Ottawa was outdrawing Hamilton and Toronto during their existence but the CFL had to save football in Southern Ontario. But in the long run things have worked out for the better. Ottawa will get a new state of the art stadium and park, LOCAL ownership and a proven winner to run the team (Jeff Hunt) Hamilton should get their new stadium(eventually) and attract a bigger audience.
But Toronto................?? not sure if they will survive in the city.

I don't like the way this is being reported.

"Doucet wanted to defer the decision in part because the Lansdowne rezoning includes the elimination of Sylvia Holden Park, a strip of grass and trees on the south side of Holmwood Avenue in the Glebe neighbourhood."

That strip is NOT Sylvia Holden Park. During negotiations, it was said that the area with the baseball diamonds was to be protected. THAT is Sylvia Holden Community Park.

The Glebe residents even acknowledge this. If you google "Save Sylvia Holden Park", you'll come across a blog by that name. There is a fact sheet included. They display two parks (Community and Commemorative) and a strip of land that says "mature trees". That strip is clearly outside the park boundaries.

Of course, that won't prevent them from screaming that we've destroyed their precious park. They're certainly not beyond stretching the truth a bit. But I hate that articles like this give their complaints credibility.

I used to jog past the stadium most days and there is a large strip of grass (park) facing the canal on Queen Elizabeth Driveway. And there is another park just at the other side if you go under the Bank Street Bridge, a huge park with a big pond. Carry on down the canal for 1km and there is a huge park at Dows Lake and then one of the biggest urban parks in Canada the Experimental Farm. But of course these parks don't count because they belong to the NCC and not the city.

The citizens of Ottawa have access to more parkland than any other city in Canada.

I think this thread was originally about the expansion draft, so I'll post this here:

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OTTAWA — Canadian Football League governors are expected to approve the guidelines for a 2012 expansion draft that would allow Ottawa’s new CFL team to be competitive during its inaugural season in 2013.

Jeff Hunt, the frontman for the group that was awarded the new franchise, was coy Wednesday about details of the expansion draft, which will be discussed at meetings during Grey Cup festivities this weekend in Edmonton.

“We want to keep the details private,? Hunt said. “But we are optimistic it will be ratified. . . . It’s going to be something exciting for football fans in Ottawa to finally have something concrete. For the past 2 1?2 years, it’s been all about Lansdowne Park. This is about football.?

The draft proposal is believed to specify a period of time during which the Ottawa franchise would have access to CFL free agents following the 2012 season. It is also thought to contain a key clause that would allow each of the league’s exiting eight teams to protect only one quarterback — but then only lose one pivot from its protected list.

Apparently, the plan also specifies the number of import and non-import players each team can protect.

Since the city was awarded a franchise, the plan has always been about giving Ottawa a credible team in its first season, rather than a squad of simply castoffs who couldn’t make any of the other eight teams.

Hunt is confident the final draft plan gives his team that chance.

The last expansion draft never allowed the Renegades to get off the ground. That ill-fated expansion effort in 2002 ended in 2006 after four losing seasons and a cumulative record of 23 wins and 49 losses.

The new plan would leave Hunt and his ownership partners roughly 24 months to prepare to begin to shape the Ottawa team’s opening day roster for July 1, 2013.

Hunt is part of the four-man Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group ownership group who’ve worked for almost three years to gain the right to redevelop Lansdowne Park.

They initially hoped to return the CFL to Ottawa in 2012 but delays and opposition to the original “Lansdowne Live? plans scuttled that timetable.

Now that the final vote has been passed by city council, the hope is to have shovels in the ground sometime next spring and a rebuilt Frank Clair Stadium ready for football by the spring of 2013.

Hunt said the group is in no rush to hire football personnel, although they would likely want to have someone in place by the time the next CFL off-season rolls around.

It looks like we may get news about an expansion draft soon after the Grey Cup game.

I'm looking forward to the specifics of the draft for sure.

And looking forward to seeing Ottawa back in, just isn't quite the same without an Ottawa team.

I don’t recall if it’s been talked about here, but I read a blog once on which the writer suggested that Ottawa should draft in 2012. Seems weird, but since most players have the options to return to school for that season, they wouldn’t be affected anyway, and it would start putting a face to the new team nice and early.

Right on cue, Naylor...

It is also believed that Ottawa will participate in the 2012 draft where it will be allowed to select players who are returning to school for another year and would be CFL rookies in 2013.