salary cap misconceptions,
Posted: 26-Nov-2005 12:37 PM Reply
Sports | canada.com Sports & Scores
Big-time spenders?: 'Rich-kids' say every team has violated salary cap in '05, not just Green and Gold
The Edmonton Journal
Saturday, November 26, 2005
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CREDIT: Greg Southam, The Journal
Eskimos backup quarterback Jason Maas warms up during practice at B.C. Place in Vancouver on Friday. The Eskimos meet the Montreal Alouettes in the 93rd Grey Cup on Sunday afternoon.
VANCOUVER - The deep-pocketed Edmonton Eskimos are
in the Grey Cup, yet again, with a roster dominated by big-name, big-money stars such as Ricky Ray, Joe Montford, Jason Tucker and Kevin Lefsrud.
It's enough to make football fans in small-markets reach for Pepto Bismol -- for reasons other than a Grey Cup hangover.
But hold on, the Eskimos say. Every CFL team violated the salary cap last year and rumours of the Eskimos' spending largess are just that -- rumours.
"This is a case where perception is not reality," said Rick LeLacheur, the Eskimos chief operating officer. "We're not out of line with all the other teams."
"Really," LeLacheur said. "I know more facts than some other people do. The Eskimos have been successful. We have money in the bank. We manage to recruit good players. We don't overpay. I think we probably pay mid-stream in the market.
"I just can't answer why everybody always looks at the Eskimos."
According to LeLacheur, the Esks are hardly the only team facing budget restraints next year if the proposed new salary-management system becomes reality.
The phantom salary cap on the books this season is $2.6 million. It's expected to climb to at least $3.8 million next season and the CFL head office promises enforcement.
"I wouldn't be able to sit here and say that we've got unanimity across the entire league on this issue," commissioner Tom Wright said Friday in his annual Grey Cup news conference.
"But I believe there is a consensus across the league that says this is something we should be doing."
That would come as a relief to the so-called poorer sisters of the CFL, including Winnipeg and Saskatchewan. But is it possible to police such a system?
Sean Fleming, for one, thinks it's going to take some time to open the books.
"Are we going to have to hire auditors?" said the Edmonton kicker, who works as a manager for an Edmonton financial firm. "Are we going to have to hire someone independent to oversee all that stuff? And, at the end of the day, is it worth it? I'm not sure."
The Eskimos are definitely the rich kids on the block. They lead the league in attendance, and the club sold the Triple-A Trappers baseball team a few years back for $10.5 million.
But a massive bank account hardly guarantees success, said Edmonton defensive end Tim Fleiszer.
"If it was just based on payroll, the New York Yankees would in the World Series every year," Fleiszer said. "Look at the Washington Redskins from a couple of years ago. They tried to sign Bruce Smith and all these other high-priced free agents and they didn't even end up making the playoffs."
"I think there are a lot of CFL teams at are spending money. B.C. has brought in some great free agents over the last couple of years. Montreal
always has talent to burn. The Toronto Argonauts -- I think they're very happy with their personnel. So I don't really see the Eskimos as the only offender when it comes to spending big bucks to get big-name free agents."
The people who complain about the Eskimos are simply jealous, said wide receiver Ed Hervey.