What does "over paying " mean in the CFL

I read a lot on here about how teams overpay for players. First of all does anyone really know the salaries that guys make?
If a team REALLY wants a certain WR and can afford him is it overpaying to offer him more than other teams. Is that overpaying?
What is a good kicker worth? it seems fashionable now to pay low here and hope for the best. Heck we may soon see teams never try a FG , always gamble on 3rd down, and always go for two
Or a ratio buster Canadian linebacker?
Not all teams have the same needs or wants.

Its a fun exercise if you want to build your own team on paper to see how you do spending 5.4 Million on your roster. Its pretty eyeopening. Do you spend $500,000 on a QB because others do. Or do you spend $100,000 on a QB and surround him with talent to succeed.

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If I was awarded an expansion team in the CFL (which is the only 'build from scratch' scenario that exists in this league), I'd take the best unprotected players I could get for the $5.4 Million I'm allowed to spend. Then I'd go a wee bit over... say another $2 Million and start the season with the idea that I'd be trading all the expensive American stars THAT I DON'T NEED to other teams for their draft choices. That way I wind up under the Cap AND get a bus load of future Canadian talent the following year.

With my first pick in the expansion draft I'd take bargain basement Jake Maier (if Calgary doesn't protect him). Then I'd grab one of Winnipeg's unprotected Canadian RB's. For the rest of my picks I'd be stocking up with as much unprotected ratio breaking content as possible. My team would be competitive right off the bat and dominant a year or two down the line.

Another way to do it is to group positions together with a budget:





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But I don't need your American guys neither because there are lots of Americans available out there. Plus the fact that I know that you have to cut down to make the roster limit and I can get your Americans for free if I want them (and even to MY contract terms and not yours), if I even think there one that I could really use that were better than what I already had. So you would not be getting any of my draft picks. You would not be getting Huf's nor Burke's nor Walters' draft picks and likely not O'Day's nor Maciocia's neither for the same reasons.

Okay, here's what I'd TRY to pay per position if I had to assemble a team and stick to that $5,400,000 budget:

QB1: $300,000 base with a $100,000 signing bonus and incentives that could put the whole package over $500,000 if all possible objectives are reached. Soooo... $400,000 for the year or so.

QB2: $150,000
O-Line: $150,000 x 5 starters = $ 750,000
RB1: $150,000 (with incentives... as high as $200,000)
RB2: $100,000 (with incentives... as high as $150,000)
Receivers: (wideouts / deep threats) $175,000 x2 = $350,000
Receivers: (slots) 150,000 x2 = $300,000

D-Line: $150,000 x 4 starters = $600,000
LB: (middle) = $175,000
LB: (other two) = 125,000 x2 = $250,000
DB's: ($105,000 x 4) = 420,000
Safety: $130,000

KR / Backup Slotback: $100,000
K: $125,000
Punter: $100,000

Depth: $1,300,000

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You're obviously way too smart me. I'd have to dangle my Americans elsewhere.

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The definition of overpaying in pro sports is not cut and dried, especially in football with its complex depth chart. There are no set numbers, but of course there is some basic math. You have a cap (or at least a budget) and you subtract a few expenses and some planned wiggle room and you divide the rest by the roster size. That gets you a guide to average pay. This is a very loose guide of course because each position is very different and players have different roles and some are rookies or young players and some are seasoned veterans. But if you cap say is 5.8 million and you have 10 practice roster spots at 30k per year then that takes you down to 5.5M. Then you want some wiggle, so you figure that you need 300k for that so that gives 5.2M. 5.2 / 46 (roster size) = 113k each. Now your star players are going to make much more than that so your average player will make somewhere less than that. This means that most players will be making between league minimum and 100k. So if you are paying someone 95k that is a very average amount of money. If this player that you are paying 95k is starting, playing well and giving you a veteran or veteran-like presence, then you are getting a bargain. If he can barely get off the special teams he is overpaid.

Most people agree that the number one skill that a GM has to have is evaluating talent - looking at a guy play and assessing how good he is and what he can do for you or someone else, and I won't disagree, but grossly overlooked is the the number two skill needed - in fact I would not call it 'two' but 'one-a' - is appraising a players value, or knowing how much to pay a guy, knowing how much is too much, and spotting undervalued bargains.

To do this you have to compare a player to everyone else that's in the talent pool that plays his position and/or performs his role. If the player is head and shoulders the best player at his position/role then pay him top dollar. It's worth it. You will have an advantage over all of your opponents that they cannot make up. If the player is the best at his position but there are several others say 90-95% as good, you can get someone 90% as good for 60-70% of the price. It's an opportunity to get value - a bargain. Otherwise, sure you have the best player but you are paying extra for very little advantage.

If the position is deep (saturated with talent) don't spend big money. Save that for positions that are hard to fill. It's really simple supply and demand but there is a zen to it.

The easiest position to fill is RB. You have one starter and there are tons of guys out there who can carry the ball and make things happen simply with athleticism and instinct, especially if your offensive line is decent. Lots of ordinary guys have rushed for 1000 yards for one or two years and disappeared. Supply of RB talent is high and demand is low (you need less of them) so the price should be low.

Receiver is another where there is lots of talent out there but it is still much harder to fill than RB because you need so many of them. Supply is high but demand is also pretty high so the price is more moderate.

Defensive tackle is very tough to fill. You need a big athletic guy who can take double teams and cover run gaps. A guy like Doug Brown or Tyrone Williams who can dominate in the middle is rare. At any given time there may only be two or even one of those in the league, so if you find one, pay that guy. You will have a serious leg up on everyone else. Supply (of really good ones) is low, price (of really good ones) is high.

Decent and even good linebackers are everywhere. If you're not careful you will trip over one. In following the CFL for over 40 years I have never seen an LB who is miles better than any other LB. Why pay Adam Bighill 200k or more when you could pay Jameer Thurman 120-150 (or even Keyshawn Bierria 100)? Bighill is fantastic but he is nowhere near twice as good as those other guys that I named. I'd rather take that extra 50k (or more) and put it towards Ja'Gared Davis or Stanley Bryant, especially considering that an LB cannot save an otherwise weak defense but a DT just might once in a while. A strong d-line is the best way to make LBs look good. Supply of LBs is high, demand is moderate, price is low-ish.

O-line can be difficult to fill, but not as hard as the secondary. DBs are the hardest to find (other than maybe star QB). They require the most experience to develop their skill set and you need a minimum of five! Any player in the secondary with a weakness in his game will be the first player exploited by the opponent's gameplan, especially when matched up against a veteran receiver. Supply (of good ones) is low, demand is high. The price (for good ones) is high.

Paying Justin Medlock big coin is worth it. Not only is he a top 3 or 4 FG kicker, he has the longest leg of all the top kickers AND he's the only one who also punts. What is better, paying Medlock 200k (and freeing up a roster spot for an extra receiver or DB) or paying Lauther and Ryan a combined 300k?

Some tips:

Don't pay players for what they've done, pay them for what they can do for you now (or the term of the contract offered). This is one of the biggest mistakes (one of Taman's common mistakes).

Don't nickel and dime good players. Do the lowball haggle thing sure, negotiate, but be prepared to pay a fair price in the end. If you want a good player, you will have to pay for one.

If you get enough bargains on your roster, you can afford to use your wiggle room to overpay a little at a key position (such as keep your star QB off the market).


ah thanks for this. kinda fun hey/?


Yeah... I had to keep changing my numbers to make them all fit. All of a sudden the money I had pegged for ONLY THE BEST linemen evaporated. Made me appreciate all the more what GM's like Kyle Walters and John Hufnagel can do on a budget.

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Yeah....one thing we need to add in I think is practice roster spots -6 i think.
We might be light on depth costs as well. Count this as 20 players I think.

It is hard to make the numbers work.

I guess that is partially why players get moved onto the Injury lists. Gotta pay them but do not count as cap.

Total payroll costs are closer to $7-7.50 Mil no doubt


We are but 'puny humans' when it comes to matching wits with our Cap smashing GM's.

Are you allowing for a franchise tag outside the cap up to a certain amount?

Limits per position?

5.8 seems challenging.

No there is not a franchise tag. And the salary cap as it now stands is about 5,4 M. No limits to position unless you want to go that route.

It IS challenging.
Go ahead and try it.

Cool. I think having a marquee or franchise tag didn't work last time.

Sorry to say but the CFL needs to hire some capologists from the NHL to solve this quadmire.

Nobody in the CFL is "overpaid" when compared to other professional sports. (Well maybe bowling)
Only "overpaid" in context of the CFL salary Cap.

Slightly off topic, still relevant

Raising the salary CAP. IMO wouldn't fix the the one year contracts, other than for a short period of time.

For each $1 million increase would average only 22K per player CDN which is like $10 USD

(Example of distribution)
Top players (4) would likely receive $50 -100K
Mid range players (14) would perhaps receive $20 - 40k
Lower range players (17) would perhaps receive $10- 20K.
Starting contacts (10) would likely get a bump of $10K

With a $1 million increase ($5.4 mil. to $6.4 mi.)
You may increase the quality of players just slightly, perhaps 1 top level Player
This won't result in a major increase in season tickets holders
This won't result in an increase in viewership
This won't result in an increase in TSN $$

Plain and simple in 2022 the NFL salary Cap is $208 million (US) per team vs CFL $5.4 million (CDN). That's more than $200 million (US). Or $6 Gazillion CND.

I agree CFL players deserve higher contracts, but without a huge increase in TV / Streaming, Advertising and concession revenue ($100 hotdog anyone) a $1 - $2 million salary Cap increase will only hurt the owners.

Every year the CFL falls further behind the NFL. This won't change anytime soon.
We just need to except the reality.

When the salary Cap is increased it's likely each team would now need to increase coaches wages as well the CFL would need to increase officials wages.

The only place a $1 million salary Cap increase may have an impact would be protecting their (CFL) players, against any startup league....XFL / USFL.


Uh...you may want the CFLPA to respond if they would be happier with an increase of 20% in cap space.
Anyway this is a thread about todays costs and how to manage them.

Well their time on a 6 game injury list isn’t counted against the cap but I believe the 1 game list guys still go against the cap. Makes life even trickier for these GM’s.

yeah I'm not sure about the 1 game guys. I sorta thought they didn't count but never really thought about it much until I did this exercise. It's a tough number to work with.
One thing I did realize I would not be paying QBs what Reilly and BLM got unless I could create a 'Work Around" the cap somehow. I think I'd rather go more cheaply at QB and build talent around them ala Lions this coming season. We may learn something from the Lions next season.

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Interesting experiment that the Lions are trying out. If it works out for them I could see it getting copied by other teams, whether it’s a Canadian qb or not. Problem is it will only work for a year - as soon as a guy has success he’ll be looking for a big pay upgrade the following year. Then some of those surrounding puzzle pieces will either have to take less money to compensate or be released.

Right now BC has three great receivers but haven’t spent much on the oline and I’m not sure that the defence is stronger either. The secondary was decent but not sold on the front seven.

Forgot about The Stove signing, so that’s a definite upgrade in the middle if he can stay healthy.