Incentives Increased to Keep American Talent in the CFL

A tentative agreement has been reached between the CFL and the CFL Players Association that will encourage more American players to remain in the league learned today.

The deal will enable American players to be deemed Canadian at a sooner stage, and therefore able to continue playing in the CFL. According to sources, the three-year deal that has just been made means that some American Players could see themselves being deemed to be Canadian after only three years playing with a team in the CFL as long as they stay with that one team the whole time. If they move between teams, then they would be considered a national upon commencement of their fifth season with a club.

Both of the above scenarios are aimed at retaining American players in the league, particularly Linemen who are the amongst the highest paid team members after quarterbacks in the CFL. A big contrast to the NFL that sees Wide Receivers and Running Backs, top the pay scales.

For some time Canadian Football managers have complained that there simply isn’t enough talent in the league to go around and that they need to find a way to attract more players to the league. This deal is seen as being an important first step in that process. As well as ensuring more Canadian content on the teams. This is seen as especially important given the new expansion team that is joining the league in 2020, the Atlantic Schooners.

The deal was reached on Wednesday following negotiation that was described as marathon taking place between the organizations. The discussions have been going on since Monday night and continued all the way through until a deal was made on Wednesday.

The CFLPA still needs to ratify the deal before the ink can be dried, but it has been presented to team managers already, and a vote on whether to accepted it by members of the CFLPA should be scheduled to go ahead sooner rather than later. The deal is also said to include other incentives such as a proposal to incorporate a ‘global’ player into the league. An initial salary for rookies, starting at $85,000 for the first overall draft pick onwards. Enhanced medical coverage for players, something that is sorely needed is also on the cards, with coverage being increased from one year to three years, and the salary cap will also continue to increase year on year, with a minimum rise of $50,000 per year being set.

This deal is said to run concurrent to the current TV deal, which sees the rights to the sport assigned to TSN until the end of the 2021/2022 season. This would also give both sides time to see if the deal has the desired effect on the game. The striking of the deal puts a stop to a proposed two-tier players strike that would have seen massive disruption to the sport going forward. It is hoped that players will be happy to accept this deal and prevent further action.


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