Ticats neg list plan the first (baby) step to more transparency

For much of its recent existence, the Canadian Football League has made enemies with the water cooler.

While most professional leagues make salary, injury and roster information readily available, the CFL has kept that information close: contract details aren’t released publicly, negotiation lists are kept private and injury updates come courtesy of the media. As a result, much of the typical fan fodder is unavailable, particularly during the long off-season.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, much to their credit, are taking (baby) steps to change that.

In a release sent out Friday, the team announced plans to release a series of videos featuring a “scouting report and detailed information on two to three players” on the team’s negotiation list as described by Tiger-Cats’ front office staff.

The videos will be available on the team’s free all-access fan program, but the first video, featuring general manager Eric Tillman discussing quarterback Johnny Manziel, offensive tackle Jason Weaver and receiver Jay Lee, was also posted to YouTube.

Teams can have up to 45 players on their negotiation list, giving the club exclusive CFL rights to them. Some are American college players — Manziel was added while he was still a star a Texas A&M — while others are NFL players. Current Ticats Larry Dean, Cassius Vaughn and Everett Golson are all examples of players who were on the team’s negotiation list at one time.

It is the first time in league history that a team has voluntarily made negotiation list players public, and the Ticats deserve props for taking the initiative and developing another area of potential interest. Reaction has been almost universally positive, as it should be: Fans now have more information, more things to talk about.

This is, however, is far from full disclosure. Players can be added, removed or traded from the negotiation list at any time, and those transactions take place on a regular basis. The Ticats could make the entire list available, as well as any additions and deletions as they happen, but they likely feel that to do so would put them at a competitive disadvantage. Still, given the general paranoia that surrounds most football teams, even a few names show significant progress.

Transparency on a wider scale would have to be implemented on a league level, and the CFL would appear to be unwilling or unable to make it happen: it’s interesting that this initiative comes from an individual team, going it alone. Hopefully, the Ticats will inspire other clubs to do the same and encourage the league to move toward a more open approach.

In meantime, the more info, the better. For the Ticats, at least, time at the water cooler is time well spent.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1397 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

24 Comments on Ticats neg list plan the first (baby) step to more transparency

  1. I find this particularly surprising given that Austin is usually so tight-lipped about everything so there certainly must be some sort of strategy involved. I had always thought this was 20 players and not 45.

    • Philski // April 1, 2017 at 1:52 pm //

      Agree. KA is so tight lipped he even keeps secrets away from himself. A complete deviation from the norm.

  2. Sea of Dead // April 1, 2017 at 9:06 am //

    Personally, I could care less about negotiation list disclosure because any talk about it is much to do about nothing until a player is actually signed. Water cooler discussion should be centered on the team we field, not on ‘if we only had him’. It has as much interest as talking about the possibility of the Arizona Coyotes making a run for the Stanley Cup in 2018.

  3. joe thibodeau // April 1, 2017 at 10:25 am //

    a big step if we would have salary info …player “a” makes $150,0000 player big “b” makes $60,000 ….nfl gives salary info maybe cfl is not willing to say that the c stands for cheap in cfl

  4. Chopper11 // April 1, 2017 at 10:31 am //

    Yeah, Always somebody finds a negative about a positive…

  5. Chopper11 // April 1, 2017 at 10:36 am //

    Actually, it stands for Canada. USA has 10 times the population of Canada, and THAT is the reason their TV deals, viewership, number of teams, contracts, talent, and everything else are higher.
    Of course, that involves math and logic.
    Give me the CFL any day…

  6. stampland // April 1, 2017 at 11:02 am //

    Transparency is good. Although neg list player seems pretty moot ;if it leads to clarity in other areas that’s a good thing. Bet Chris Jones didn’t sleep too easily last night.

    • See Stampland – it’s a Tigercat story and you always take it to the Riders. Nobody else even mentioned them.

      • stampland // April 1, 2017 at 6:29 pm //

        Just because to one else mentioned them doesn’t mean it’s not warranted. I think and CFL story that brings up transparency warrants mention of Chris Jones

  7. joe thibodeau // April 1, 2017 at 1:06 pm //

    hey I love cfl football over nfl BUT we should know what the players are getting paid! it has nothing to do with math, logic. If the nfl can share salarys why not the cfl??????

    • Chopper11 // April 1, 2017 at 7:08 pm //

      It causes issues for teams, and the cap is low…they can’t afford to drive up salary requests…there are reasons. The CFL is also a lot less political than NFL, and that may be one of the reasons.

  8. ladieda // April 1, 2017 at 1:58 pm //

    The release is likely not because the Ti-Cats want transparency. Instead, this is just a marketing move to get fans to sign up for the website to create a email list and to drum up chatter among the loyalists.

    Is it really a big deal anyway? Edwards only names three current players formerly on their neg list. That’s it? Who cares when we are talking about an amount that could very well match the number of players they found at open tryout camps.

    I would be more interested in a public neg list if teams used it to form the majority of internationals on their roster.

    • ladieda // April 2, 2017 at 1:46 pm //

      Forgot to mention that the Ti-Cats last year never bothered to update their roster on Ticats.ca during training camp. Even after the official final cutdown date had passed, their public roster still had maybe 80 players listed which means they did nothing for at least a month.

      So now all of a sudden, the Ticats are trying to portray themselves as being more transparent than other CFL teams? Sure. Other than gathering email addresses, another likely reason for the videos is that Eric Tillman wanted to do something where he is in front of a camera.

  9. John Gismondi // April 4, 2017 at 6:51 pm //

    Drew, What is going on with Andy Fantuz?

  10. CC Rider // April 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm //

    I couldn’t care any less what players are getting paid. That is in no way, shape or form, our business.

    I want to know where my team stands against the cap. I want to know if they’re $5000 or $150,000 under. That gives me a clearer picture of where the club stands than knowing that my starting right tackle makes $90,000 a year.

Comments are closed.