***Salary cap on horizon?

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By the time they leave Phoenix, they hope to be wearing a hard cap.

Both chairman Ken Hildahl and president/CEO Lyle Bauer of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers expect to engage in a healthy debate over an enforceable salary cap when they meet with the rest of the CFL board of governors in Scottsdale, Ariz., today and tomorrow.

"We'd like to get into some serious discussions about salary management," Hildahl said from the Phoenix airport yesterday. "It's something we'd always support."

CFL commissioner Tom Wright will reportedly propose a $3.8-million limit on players' pay per team to be introduced as soon as the 2006 season. The proposal would need approval from six of the nine governors. Both B.C.'s David Braley and Montreal's Robert Wetenhall are reportedly dead set against it. Ottawa's Lonie Glieberman prefers to put it off for a year. Winnipeg is apparently one of five franchises in support of it.

"Overall, I don't think the league has been this healthy for years," Hildahl said. "And we like the direction Tom has taken the league. Sponsorship is way up, and it is becoming more popular all the time. The last piece to put into place is a real salary management system."

Without an enforceable salary cap and with some poor management, the Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto franchises had been on the brink of elimination the past few years.

"It comes down to the notion of trying to ensure that that we have a strong, competitive balance across the league," Wright told the Edmonton Sun. "It is something that is the hallmark of every league across the continent."

Some reports have suggested that Wright's future could be tied to whether the board accepts the cap proposal.

"I don't really think it would," Hildahl said. "He's been given the job to get a system in place that works, so that (terminating Wright) makes no sense, really. Hopefully, we can avoid that."

Ironically, the board is also expected to discuss expanding the 40-man rosters to 42 at the same time they are proposing salary limits.

"A few extra guys is not totally bad football-wise," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said from Nevada, where he had scouted the Las Vegas Bowl. "Obviously, it would have an economic impact. When we're crunching numbers, are we dividing by 40 or 42? I'd rather divide it by 40, but I could live with it either way."

If that proposal goes through, teams would add one import and one non-import to their active rosters. The governors could advance the trade deadline, too.

Hildahl and Bauer will also give an encouraging update on 2006 Grey Cup preparations.

NEW SAFETY: Bombers signed non-import safety Ian Logan, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound Wilfrid Laurier product who was passed over in last year's draft.

"He's a smaller guy who can run, and he's tough," Taman said. "He can probably push for a role-playing job."

Logan, 23, was a two-time CIS first-team all-star who had 18 1/2 tackles and three interceptions last season.

The signing had little to do with the fact that backup S Ryan Folk is about to become a free agent, Taman said.

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It's about voting for change or sticking with the status quo.

No, we're not talking about the election later this week to decide Canada's future in politics, but the Canadian Football League's voting on commissioner Tom Wright's salary management system.

Wright will present today his much-anticipated system -- i.e. cap -- in Scottsdale, Ariz., to the board of governors, who then will cast their votes.

There has been talk the cap will be raised from $2.6 million to $3.8 million, which will seem like a huge leap except that all nine teams exceeded the cap last year. Sources suggest the nine had an average player payroll of $3.5 million.

The system, which was worked on by representatives of some of the nine teams along with Wright, is expected to be visually transparent, allowing for open disclosure of salaries. Some of the other components involve expanding the roster by as many as three players (including two Americans), moving up the trade deadline, and making adjustments to the annual draft, the injured list and the practice roster.

Wright goes into his fourth season, but with only a one-year extension instead of the multi-year deal he sought. It appears his ability to persuade the board to accept the salary management system could be important for his long-term fate. In essence, voting to implement the cap would be an endorsement of Wright's embattled leadership.

"I don't look at in those terms," he said. "This is part of the job I'm paid to do, which is bring forward proposals and enable those things that I think will make us a better league and a stronger and healthier organization. We've been looking at bringing forward this kind of proposal for quite some time. Ultimately it's about bringing forward a salary management system for a league that will allow for competitive balance."

B.C. Lions owner David Braley, who is a critic of the commissioner's management, told Vancouver radio station Mojo Sports yesterday that Wright would have a hard time implementing a system that would please all the teams.

"Everybody has different needs to fill," he said. "I don't think the salary wage management system is as big a deal as the media makes it out to be. It has worked well the last five, 10 years. We've had a guideline to work by."

The Argonauts feel the new system is imperative.

"I think it's absolutely crucial to make the next step to run this league similar to all other professional leagues (with cost certainty)," Argos president Keith Pelley said.

It's expected Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Calgary and Hamilton will back the new plan, while B.C. and Montreal will vote against it. Edmonton and Ottawa are considered swing votes. The Eskimos annually are considered among the top-spending teams in the league. Ottawa president Lonie Glieberman has been quoted as saying he'll be in favour of implementing the cap, but enforcing it next year after it has had a trial basis.


The Hamilton Tiger-Cats re-signed safety Wayne Shaw to a one-year deal plus an option yesterday. Hamilton is expected to announce today the re-signing of receiver Brock Ralph, acquired last year from Edmonton in the deal for running back Troy Davis.

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They've talked about it and argued about it and even had to fight off a lawsuit over it. Now we'll see how serious Canadian Football League governors are about settling their salary-cap issue.

The league's board of governors will meet today and tomorrow at an Arizona resort to tackle two objectives: how to change and implement a meaningful salary cap for the 2006 season.

Although the CFL's committee on salary management will present several proposals, it is believed the governors will look at a fixed amount for what they can pay their players. That total is expected to be $3.8-million, a 46-per-cent increase from what clubs were allowed to spend last year when all nine exceeded the $2.6-million limit.

Included in the $3.8-million would be $200,000 that a club could use to re-sign players on its existing roster.

A separate cap for coaches' salaries would be agreed on later.

According to several contacts, there is still strong disagreement among the governors over what kind of salary cap would work best and whether it could be policed.

Club audits would have to be reviewed by the league office and penalties for overspenders would have to be enforced, a rare occurrence in the CFL.

Asked whether there is a cap system to satisfy all the governors, B.C. Lions owner David Braley told Vancouver's Mojo radio yesterday: "I don't think so, because everyone has different needs to fill. Things worked pretty well the last five to 10 years whenever we had guidelines to work by.

"We budget as a team and we keep our expenses within that budget."

The last team to be publicly identified as a salary-cap violator was the 1997 Toronto Argonauts, who lost a second-round draft pick and a player from their negotiation list as punishment.

The original owners of the Ottawa Renegades were so incensed with the league's inability to control player spending that they threatened legal action. The situation was eventually resolved with a $1-million payout to the Renegades' original owners.

Adding to this already complicated issue is the belief among some governors that the vote for a new salary cap would be, in essence, a vote for keeping Tom Wright as the CFL commissioner.

Wright is in the final year of the contract extension he was awarded in the spring of 2005.

After getting the extension, he spoke out at an exhibition game in Halifax and promised that the league would be operating under a viable salary-cap plan.

For that, and other issues, Wright has fallen into disfavour with some of the league's most powerful voices, Bob Wetenhall of the Montreal Alouettes and Braley.

Wetenhall and Braley wanted Wright out of office and were against offering him a contract extension.

Wetenhall again questioned Wright's leadership last week when the commissioner fired Ed Chalupka, the league's senior vice-president of football operations.

Chalupka had worked with the league since 1993 and was the only head-office employee who had played in the CFL.

"That might be an item that has some discussion attached to it, whether or not the proper protocol was followed," Braley said.

Wright's future may be raised either today or tomorrow. The salary cap will come up for a vote, but a final result may be deferred. The governors' next meeting is set for Feb. 21 to 23 at the CFL congress in Toronto.

Whatever the league decides in Arizona, it would have to take it to the Canadian Football League Players' Association for acceptance.

The collective agreement with the CFLPA will expire one day before training camps open this year.

Cap... or not to...Cap, tough question.It's not like the average salary in the CFL is through the roof.
But the CFL does need a Cap, 3.8 mill sounds fair...for the Union and Team's..
It also could be rolled on league revenues yearly..a great buisness year means and expanding cap for the next season

They must agree on a new one soon, otherwise teams are gonna have to let go of some players they are trying to sign (old and new). I know that's not an emerncy, but the sooner they do it the better.

I would be ok with Gliebs proposal top have it implemented next yeat instead of this year. Just as long as it gets done period.

Who of anyone on this board who are season ticket holders would cancel their tickets if a salary cap is not in place by next year? This type of talking will make the owners agree to one if enough people say they will cancel their season tickets. I wouldn't cancel mine I don't think but I'm still not sure as I want what is best for the league as a whole.

i went to 5 argo games and 1 ti-cat game...i might not follow the cfl anymore if they dont put in a cap.

i paid for the most expensive seats at the argo games, and always brough a few friends with me....so if i stop going, thats a few tickets that wont be sold.

Once again I wrote a great response but lost out on time, UGGGGh!.. The jest of my statement was "You get what you pay for". If you go on the cheap the league will forever be looked upon as Bush. If you spend a little money and continue to grow the league will attract better athletes,which will increase the profile of the league ,which weill attract more fans.There should be a salary cap but it needs to be higher then 3.8 million . Heck one player get more then 10% of that cap. If you want the best players you have to pay the best $$. Just like every business, the best business have to pay top $ to stay ahead of the game.

for the league to grow...it NEEDS a cap...

we've seen where this league has gone without one...in the gutter, and has only climbed outta the gutter in the last few years.

without a cap, the richer teams will continue to outbid the commmunity owned teams, and drive saleries too high for these small market teams to compete. if they cant compete, then fans wont attend. if fans dont attend, teams fold. if teams fold, how bush is a league with 7 or less teams????????????

without a cap, this league will not expand to 10 teams.....and could even lose existing teams over time.

if they get a cap, they have more possiblities of expansion in the future, which will lead to higher tv ratings, bigger tv deal, and more sponsors.

once they get all this extra tv money and sponsorship dollars, then they can raise the cap accordingly....3.8 million is the right place to start.

a cap IS NEEDED.

The Gliebs want to put it off for a year?????? I LOVE IT. :smiley: Very interesting.....

the gliebs want to try is without the enforcement for one year...as a trial.

Do you guys really believe that teams that don't respect the "soft cap" will respect the "hard cap"?
The reason Montreal is against it is because they feel it will create more underground contracts. Team(or sponsors) will pay players to shake hands and make public appearances.
I am not so sure they are wrong!

so why not give it a try?.. and if it doesnt work, u didnt lose anything!

dont let kanga hear that about his changes!!!!!!!!

Sure why not put it in place.

Like Murray Pezim did in the 90's

And when it comes to Tampering and old boy dealings, fines should be in place also..
CFL for tommorow..the Coopertive Fair Leauge...Go CFL ...

Drumming God is absolutely right. And above all else, it will make the owners of the teams even more money in the long run. Isn't that what they want in the first place?

Well in theory it would make more money but,
would spending a extra million to have a winning team not generate more than that in tickets sales in the long run?

Well the NFL and the NHL have a salary cap and haven’t had trouble with underground dealings yet so I’m sure the CFL will be able to deal with this issue. I believe if the owners make excuses of why they don’t think a salary cap will work in this league then they don’t even want to try to make it work. I don’t know if they don’t want to have the challenge of making it work or they want the competitive advantage of signing players for more money but whatever the excuse not have parity in a professional league ends up hurting the league in the long run.