Possible solution to 1 year contracts, CFLPA

The Canadian Football League’s collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in May 2022, providing the league with an opportunity to address the issue of player transiency that has become a common complaint among fans.

“The challenge is it just can’t be a one-way commitment. Our membership wants a higher level of certainty. The players want to not only make an impact on the field, but also off the field in the communities, and that takes a mutual commitment and we need to work with the CFL to find a solution to that,” said Ramsay.

Veteran players were permitted to sign one-year contracts for the first time when a new CBA was ratified in June 2014. The change was trumpeted by the CFLPA’s leadership at the time who believed that the elimination of mandatory option-year clauses would increase salaries.

The results have been disastrous for the league, players, and fans. Free agent lists have grown to comical lengths with hundreds of players eligible to hit the open market each year, many of whom are household names. The few players who sign long-term contracts are at constant risk of facing pay cuts or getting released.

“In reality, there is no such thing as a contract longer than one year as the teams have the ability to change the terms or cancel the contract. That is common practice in our league. Players are signing one-year deals because there is really no such thing as anything longer in our league when you look at how a multiyear contract is now treated,” said Ramsay.

Ramsay indicated that the players are currently holding internal discussions to determine how they’ll approach CBA negotiations this off-season. He believes it’s too early to identify their top priorities, but said that the desire to sign long-term contracts has been a point of discussion for a long time.

Sounds like the CFLPA is looking for guaranteed contracts of some sort as a concession for returning to longer-term contracts. If I were a player, I'd want the same. But I don't know to what extent the league can afford it. I sure hope they can work something out, though. Roster turnover is a big problem in establishing a team's identity with their community/fanbase.


They can afford it if GMs just get a little smarter about who they go after and for how much. The only reason they aren't smarter about it right now is the fact that contracts aren't guaranteed, making their job significantly easier than it should be.


I would agree considering having 1 year contacts was considered a win by the PA per the above article so they'll definitely want something back to remove it.

I think the owners would want the 1 year contracts done with as well to some level.

I'm sure they'll want a cap rollback with increments of it increasing as business does. Can a partial guarantee (aside from signing bonuses etc...) be worked out somewhere?

I think that the league will try to have smaller rosters. Not sure how agreeable the PA would be with that.

I’d like to see guaranteed contracts in the CFL, with exception to “entry level contracts” (Along with restricted free agency). I think that would help the League in a lot of ways. Most sports have had guaranteed contracts for quite awhile now, and none of collapsed because of it. Football as a whole should have done this a long time ago IMO, at least in the NFL we’re seeing more guaranteed money on contracts.

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There are lots of ways to do this. Contracts don't need to be fully guaranteed, only partially. Say 20% guaranteed. That means that if a player is cut and clears waivers, the team has to buy him out for 20% of what is left on the deal. So a 3 year deal at 100k per year, player cut halfway through year 2 means that 150k is left and the buyout would be 20% of 150k = 30k. This would also encourage a player to extend as he gets closer and closer to the end of his deal and his potential buyout gets smaller and smaller.

I don't think that restrictions on free agency in the CFL are all that necessary. I wouldn't be against anything simple like say a right to match offer though but anything more complicated than that would be dumb.

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I wonder if one way around that would be to cut down the size of the practice squad?

If CFLdb is accurate, PS players get a tiny salary plus housing allowance, so I'd think It's that housing allowance that would be the key figure - why pay thousands of dollars to cover housing costs for 15 players when you could do it for 5?

This way, the team saves money while also helping to placate the CFLPA as it wouldn't be first-team starters who are affected.

Interesting option ... maybe a descending guarantee percentage ... 30-15 on a two-year deal, 30-20-10 on a three-year deal ... 30-22.5-15-7.5 on a four year

If they can find something to get rid of the one year contract i would probably be in favor. It's not normal that the opening of the free agency market is more exciting than the playoffs.

Exactly the longer a player is with a team the bigger percentage is then guaranteed.

I felt the same way about one year contracts a couple of years ago. Then we managed to sign just about all of our free agents after winning the Cup in 2019... except for the two or three who signed with teams in the NFL. So now I really don't worry about one year contracts any more.

Without one year contracts we wouldn't have gotten a lot of the guys who still have NFL stars in their eyes to sign here. :smiley: :+1:

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The league could still leave 1-year opt outs for NFL shots, with the CFL rights staying with the team for x number of years.


I agree that something like this would be reasonable and make sense. I thought that some form of this proposal was in place at one time, although I could be wrong.

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I guess we could. But with so many free agents available in the offseason thanks to one (and done) year contracts all those 'have-not' teams still have an awesome chance to rebuild at the expense of 'haves'. Sounds like a good situation to me.

With salary caps and an abundance of free agents you'd think the CFL would rebalance itself EVERY year. But of course it all comes down to which organization has the best brains working for it. I'm not worried about our tall foreheads. They can crush other humans with a mere thought.

Think of what we have now as 'CFL Natural Selection' on a cerebral level. Edmonton, Ottawa and BC have to get smarter before next year's free agency frenzy begins... otherwise they'll get eaten. :smiley: :+1: