Right Tridus. This would be a return to the prior system where players could sign in the NFL in the option year window.
I can see the argument GMs will probably be making - some players might be reluctant to sign in the CFL if they have to play out 2 years (the one year and the option year) before they can test NFL waters, this limits the pool and maybe some quality of player the CFL teams can get. Having that option year window closed makes it harder to compete with the likes of the UFL which, despite next to nobody watching it or paying to watch it rather, allows players to leave for NFL opportunities even in season.
As a fan though, it sucks seeing top talent taking off after one good year and having to refill the spot again the next year. Also you'd think this would impact the teams ability to sell some merchandise. Why would u shell out big bucks on a jersey with name and number of a guy when he could easily take off after one season? Plus its harder to sell those CFL season tickets if you lose your dynamic rookie every offseason to be NFL TCF.
I wonder if creating a transfer window like you see in soccer might be the answer. Players can move between leagues and teams based on a transfer fee. So lets pick, say Chris Williams with the Ticats. Right now he's obligated to come back to the TiCats and play out his option year. Under the old system he could sign with any NFL team and head to their training camp. If he gets cut and doesn't get another spot elsewhere in the NFL in 10 days he has to come back to the TiCats, which is not till September typically. Why not require teams who want a CFL player pay up an inter-league transfer fee, $10, 15, or 20L? If they really want him, the CFL and the team that lost him should get something back for the inconvenience and potential lost revenue from losing an upper level talent. It may cut into any bonus the player may get from the NFL team but so what? If they make it they get a higher NFL salary. If an NFL team is really sold on a player and they want him they they should be willing to pay it. If a player has a good year but the NFL squads are not so sure, they'll wait another year to get him when his option year is over and the CFL keeps him for his second year. This will limit how many guys will jump early but still make it enticing to players. Opening that window to allow players to keep walking after one season in exchange for nothing isn't worth it.