Players already opting for new American league over CFL

The Alliance of American Football League has begun poaching players from CFL.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones said the team planned to bring in two quarterbacks this week after trading Johnny Manziel to the Montreal Alouettes but the players decided they were going to try their luck with the startup AAF.

“That was the first time we had [players] say ‘I think I’m going to go to the new league,’” Jones said Tuesday.

The new league will kick off its inaugural season the week after the Super Bowl and has a TV contract with CBS. Each player will be signed to a three-year contract with a minimum base gross salary of $250,000 USD over three years and the chance to earn more. They will also have the ability to try the NFL while still under contract in addition to post-secondary education assistance as well as health and wellness benefits.

The league was founded by long-time NFL personnel man Bill Polian and appears to be a credible challenger to the CFL when it comes to recruiting players. The Canadian league has reportedly changed its rules and will allow players an NFL window before the final year of their contracts going forward.

But the AAF is already having an impact.

“It’s going to come up more with other positions but it certainly came up with quarterbacks real quick,” Jones said.

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 (1570 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.

99 Comments on Players already opting for new American league over CFL

  1. yes; it’s a tough game. being guaranteed 1/4 million us for 3 seasons vs. 60k canadian if you’re on the roster. a no brainer – and a lot of these guys have no brains

    • Really? Why be a douche ? Remember your mom … “ if you’ve got nothing good to say , don’t say anything at all”.

    • gord youre a goof. if you ever come out of your mommies basement, go say that to a pro football players face

    • They get 250000 over the course of 3 years which means they only get paid 75000 per year.mel

      • TheLastArgoFan // July 25, 2018 at 6:46 am //

        $83,333.33 per year.
        And that is US$ btw.

      • Putin's Puppet // July 25, 2018 at 1:28 pm //

        Y’all are missing the point. These dudes all think they are close to going to the NFL. And by going to this new league they’ll play using NFL rules on an NFL-sized field. What would choose under the circumstances?

        Ultimately the CFL is not in any way under threat. But there chances at a good American TV contract are nil with these other American leagues around.

    • He spoke of QB`s, QBs in the CFL make between 200 and 400,000 a year, speaking of #1 and #2, use Argos Franklin as example, he makes 200 and change a year, not over 3 years, and he is the backup to Ray or was the plan.

      The league is no danger to starting CFL qbs, even taking the US Canuck conversion into play. Now if they want more exposure, that is a horse of a different color, in that case they can take pay cut and go to other league if they get an offer.

      If the new league makes it mandatory to stand for Anthem , it could be very successful in US , many many swear they will never watch NFL again, yes a medal of honor recipient refused to be honored at a Saints game because he learned players would be kneeling. You can kid yourself if you like, but its a big deal to many in USA

      • Random Rider Fan // July 25, 2018 at 8:15 am //

        Consider this, the cost of having to live in Canada and maintain a US home for your family, your wife/girlfriend cannot work in Canada but they can work in the US. Living away from your family/girlfriend instead of being together in the same city.

    • That’s 250000 spread over 3 years. Not 250000 /yr. That’s 83k PER season. Looks like YOU have no brain s.

  2. CFL lover // July 24, 2018 at 4:33 pm //

    With a base salary of $250,000 (US) if this league can last three years the CFL will be hard pressed to compete, in fact it can’t and won’t. We would need to flip the ratio as it is now structured. Dress only seven imports. Welcome to the future maybe. The true “Canadian” Football League.

    • eddiefelson // July 24, 2018 at 4:38 pm //

      many have tried and many have failed….the CFL will prevail!!!

      • Richard Cunningham // July 24, 2018 at 6:56 pm //

        I think this league is doing things the right way. So it could really hurt the CFL. 1) 6 out of the 8 markets are not in an NFL city. 2) the last few leagues that tried didn’t have a TV deal,apparel deals,ETC 3) the salary and roster structure of the teams is smart. EI if a player was at Arizona State he’ll play for the Arizona franchise. All coachs have NFL experience.

      • Ray Jay Johnson II // July 27, 2018 at 9:43 am //

        Hmm buy me ticket for all Canadian CFL No thanks I’d Rather go Detroit or Buffalo

    • No. The new league will compete for recruits primarily, which may force us to up our minimum salary, which would probably be a good thing.

      • Maybe, but forcing up salaries will hurt team’s bottom line. They will be forced to make up for it on other areas like cutting admin/coaches, increase ticket prices.
        First step would be to cut the Canadian ratio too to bring down the salaries of Canadians.

    • Unless I am reading this wrong, the $250K is NOT per year…it is for all 3 years…so the $ aren’t much different.

      • Peter N // July 24, 2018 at 4:44 pm //

        Uhhh, equates to $83,333 USD per year which at a conservative exchange of 1.25 is roughly $105,000 CDN per year. Significantly more than a rookie CFL contract for an american I would suggest.

        • well, Uhhh…if an import excels, his contract will eclipse that $105K…if he doesn’t, he probably won’t have a job. So…NO…the dollars are not that much different. Put another way, the players who make a difference, get similar money…the insignificant players are: Uhhh….insignificant.

          • There are benefits that a CFL player doesn’t get.
            And keep in mind that is the starting amount, player can earn more!
            The allure of playing the American game, which these guy are used to and the chance to play at home Vs. a foreign country.
            All this makes this league more appealing

          • But the cost of living in the US is significantly lower and the fact that players probably would rather stay in their own country. If a player is doing well in that league he has a better chance of press coverage and a better chance of a place in the NFL if he is successful.

        • Thanks for that Porn Guy. We have done the math already.

        • I believe salaries for US players are paid in US dollars.

      • You do appear to be reading that correctly…but $83,333 USD (~$109,000 Canadian dollars) per year is in fact a lot more than most CFL players make, especially on entry-level contracts, no? I mean, that figure (which the article states is the *minimum* gross base salary for the new league) is slightly more than double the current 2018 CFL minimum of $54,000CDN. If you were offered a job opportunity at literally *double* your current gross salary, would you say that the the two salary figures “aren’t much different”?

        • Meathead // July 24, 2018 at 5:20 pm //

          – players are only mandated for a 10 game season, (as opposed to 18 in the CFL)
          – can earn additional bonuses/incentives $ with performance and public appearances
          – have the convenience of playing at home
          – receive educational/health bursaries
          – the luxury of playing or trying out for other football leagues while still under AAFL contract.

          …that and $110,000+CAN in the AAFL sounds much better than $54,000CAN in the CFL.

          The CFL will be getting scraps from the AAFL if this keeps up.

          • Let’s keep this in perspective. For minimum players they would currently make more in the AAF, but the mid level and max guys are going to be making more money in the CFL. Our top QBs base slalary is $400k+ Top players at other positions make $200k. The AAF may turn into a farm league for the CFL in fact, but I think we are going to have to up our minimum salaries by quite a bit, to maybe $80k ish.

          • Don’t forget that we also have Canadians that are playing in the NCAA that will be coming up for the draft. How many Canadians would opt to try that league?
            Maybe the top draft pick Mark Chapman hangs around and jumps to the new league

          • Yes, because football players are WELL KNOWN for exercising their chances at increasing/improving their education… Many of them are borderline illiterate, pushed through the system just because they play football.

    • No they don’t get paid a quarter million per season 250000 is over 3 years. They’ll get a base salary of 75000 gross per season.

      • TheLastArgoFan // July 25, 2018 at 6:49 am //

        How do you keep calculating $75,000 per year from a contract of $250,000 for three years?

      • Larry Clammon // July 25, 2018 at 10:24 am //

        hey Mel, take off your shoes next time you calculate $250,000/3. Your math is weird. Or maybe you are just dumb.

        • Melbourne McGuigan // July 27, 2018 at 9:20 am //

          It’s 83.3k per season, I miscalculated.. Take off my shoes before I comment? Lmao dumb.

          • antoine lussier // July 30, 2018 at 11:20 pm //

            hey don’t feel bad–48% of students do not know fractions–that’s almost 1/3.

    • that`s 250 thousand over 3 years, that is how I read it, round it off to about 85 grand US a year.

  3. The QBs also probably see the new league as a better place to get playing time. Hamilton just traded Johnny Manziel because he wasn’t getting any playing time behind Masoli, so what chance to they have?

  4. There’s thousands of football players in the US. There will always be talent relative to what’s in the CFL now. Maybe its time to increase the Cdn ratio even

    • Gawd – NO………..very few people watch the CIS, right now there is only ONE decent Canadian receiver and one RB, no CIS QBs have the talent. It’s time to reduce the Cdn ratio

  5. I don’t see how this league will last more than 3yrs tops. Just the payroll alone will sink this league and I can’t imagine they will have any good crowds. It’s been tried many times before and football interest is on the decline.

    • yes you could be right unless they get a big TV contract.
      But even if it fizzles out after 2 or 3 years it’s going to hurt the CFL

  6. And, yes, it would be good to see more Canucks playing.
    But, right now, good Canadians earn more than the imports.

    • But the top Canucks that are coming out of the NCAA could also jump to this new league. Why do you think Chapman is sitting out? he would be paid the CFL minimum

  7. The excited states will not support, in any great numbers, anything that is deemed inferior to the NFL. So people, stop shaking in your jock strap, the CFL will be OK.

    • You missed the point, the league is starting up and already signing players. Even if it fails it will affect the CFL until it does. US football fans may watch this league because it is not competing with the NFL season.

  8. Hopefully this will force the CFL to increase its salary cap to be competitive. Right now the rookie base contracts are a joke.

    • solara2000 // July 24, 2018 at 5:25 pm //

      I think the salary cap and the salary structure is driven by economics, not a desire to pay less money. With 11-12000 fans in the stadium (see Argos last gate – oh you don’t want to use Argo #s, ok what about Montreal or B.C. #s?). Where does the $$$ come from and don’t say TV – have you looked at TV audience #s. Oh maybe its corporate sponsorships – hmm, I think sponsorships have a relationship to audience #s -the gate and the TV. No the CFL is in a tough place – see the recent reduction of coaching salaries. While it is the Canadian Football League, beyond the marquee players, it is the Canadian players who are making the bucks.
      Don’t think the answer is ‘Canadianizing it more, rather I think it is about open rosters regardless of nationality. Tap into the 16000+ draft eligible players each year (source NCAA Research, April 2018) and let the best 50 or so players (Canadian or American or?) per team available play.

      • While you are right about the TO/BC/MTL situations. All other 6 teams are seeing a pretty steady gate. And have YOU looked at TV audiences? the CFL is generally a top draw. The Grey cup has more canadian viewers than the super bowl. Only Hockey beats it. There was no “reduction” in coaching salaries. They just put a limit on them, as there was none before a some teams who are supported better than others and had the cash to spend, were using much larger amounts of $$ on coaching/recruiting etc etc. To a point where it was an advantage to them. Or at least should have been.

        • solara2000 // July 24, 2018 at 7:44 pm //

          Appreciate your reply. I would like to agree with you that the gate in the other cities is healthy -think I read Ottawa’s gate last week was off about 10% to approximately 21000 and we can all remember when the Stampeders were drawing well in excess of 25K – don’t think that’s the case today. Re TV yes GG is a great draw but one game does not make a successful league.

          While there have been some decent TSN audiences, at the same time there have been some games with viewership below 300K.

          Re coaching, my apologies, I didn’t mean to suggest that coaches were taking a reduction, rather the league put a cap on the total coach salary expenditure meaning fewer dollars, fewer coaches. Where did that come? After all like any business, management salaries are the prerogative of the business (and not part of any collective agreement. I don’t think the League would cap marketing or promotional dollars.

        • Check the TV ratings, the NFL in Canada outdraws the CFL. The Super Bowl ratings were higher the last two years because of “simulcast” – the Canadian viewers watching the US broadcast are NOT measured.
          Besides what does your comment on ratings have to do with revenue?? TSN pays the CFL $42 MILLION a year until 2022 to broadcast games. Whether there are 100k viewers or 1 million on TSN it makes no difference to how much money the CFL brings in.
          If the CFL raises salaries then it’s going to be up to teams to raise ticket prices, reduce marketing, coaches etc. TV revenue isn’t going to increase

    • Puck Hog // July 24, 2018 at 5:25 pm //

      Increasing the salary cap is not necessarily good for the league. If teams do not have enough money to pay for good players under the current structure, they won’t have money to pay under an increased cap. Don’t forget why the cap came into existence in the first place.

  9. The new CBA will probably see the team salary cap rise to about $6 million…which is about $130K per player.
    If you subtract about 1 million for the top 4 or 5 players, that still leaves about $125k per.
    The real kicker is the 3-yr guarantee…I see that as deal-beaker for their league…it will bankrupt them…or dilute their product to the level of a beer league.

    • MR. Green // July 24, 2018 at 6:23 pm //

      This is also for only 10 regular season games. Players will like that. In the states and back home sooner with thier family, all with more money than our young guys.
      I hope it fails. Let’s hope fans don’t show, especaially immediately after a full NFL and College season. Baseball starts up, Basketball regular season will be heading down the final stretch, along with hockey, March Madness. AAF has plenty of competition.

    • Where did you read that it’s going to $6 MILLION?
      Teams could keep the salary cap where it is and just reduce the number of players. We have a league where teams have 12 players on the field, yet if you count the active players, injured, reserve etc there could be over 70 payers that they are paying.
      Time to have more players doing two way play. Get rid of the “special teams”, existing defensive players can tackle on special teams too.
      Reduce the number of players, reduce the Canadian ratio, cut down the number of coaches too.
      12 coaches for a team with 12 players on the field?

  10. Blue rules // July 24, 2018 at 5:02 pm //

    The AAF won’t last more than two years. Then CFL can pick up the leftovers.

    • Ticats63 // July 24, 2018 at 5:35 pm //

      I agree completely.

      After the NCAA Bowls and Championships, and the Super Bowl, no one will be interested in either attending, or watching, more football.

      Canadians will be focused on hockey and Americans on basketball, plus the start of baseball.

      Two years for this league might be generous. We’ve been down this road before, and that was when the digital distractions and global sports were not what they are today in North America.

      Settle down kids.

      • Exactly:
        The season start of this league is terrible. It’s anti climatic after the NFL season. Besides, people are tired of football my then

      • Obviously they have done their research and football fans will want to watch more football. Basketball right now goes head to head with the NFL from Nov to Feb. There is only one sport in the winter, even NASCAR shuts down. Lots of room for winter football.

  11. There’s so much talent coming out of the States, every year. It’s hard to see anything REALLY happening, other than the CFL won’t be able to afford to be as cavalier with the talent they DO have coming up north.

    Like blacklisting QB’s like Adrian McPherson and Rakeem Cato, to name but two from the Alouettes.
    Cato is young, very talented, and has been hanging out in Liberty City (mostly) since they drummed his butt out of the CFL. Think Als fans would’ve taken him over Free Willy, Sgt. Schlitz or (too boring to even deserve a silly nickname) Jeff Mathews?

    Heck, Adrian McPherson, a talented, veteran CFL pivot is still slinging pigs in Arena Ball. Time to work on some positive Karma CFL, and not rhyme with “assets” all the time.

    • Paul Black // July 24, 2018 at 10:02 pm //

      The answer, as it is for most issues, is to grow the Canadian population so we can compete with and beat the U.S. at anything, including football leagues. Do you you think we would have any issue with the CFL competing with the NFL if we had at least 100 million people. You can’t run a country our size with 36 million people, especially when you’re next to a country 9 times as large.

      • What does population have to do with it??
        There are 10 MILLION people live within a 100km radius of Toronto but they draw 10k to football games.
        The smallest city in the CFL draws the highest attendance at 33k.
        There are 160k people that live within 100km of Green Bay but the Packers average 68,000 per game.

        Your comparisons to population doesn’t make sense, it’s about the interest in football. You can have 10 MILLION people living in the GTA but they aren’t interested in football.

      • Grow our population. Lmao. That’s your solution??? The logistics of life in Canada assure we will never be that big.

  12. Why didn’t Jones have this information before dumping Johnny because the trade looks increasing foolish!

  13. The CFL will be an ALL CANADIAN league , no more “International “ players , then it will vanish.

  14. The AAF won’t survive in the US. Fans of the NFL will always consider it a watered down league. AAF can make all the concessions it wants for players but if no one is watching the league want last. In the end it comes down to fans and TV ratings and with NFL and NCAA, the AAF is out of luck. No one is the US wants to watch the backups play. Non-issue.

    • Who knows if it will. But the important thing is that these investors have done their research and they aren’t going out to lose money. They aren’t competing one on one like leagues did in the past, they are trying to get fans that area starved for football in the winter.
      It may fail but in the mean time it hurts the CFL

  15. The money is better and so are the benefits. But in reality, this league likely won’t survive. We get scared every time.
    In the end this league will yield a few good players just like the original XFL did. Look at He Hate me and Sean Avery

  16. Trumpino // July 24, 2018 at 5:30 pm //

    I told you so check my posts months ago I told you this would happen guys jumping to the new league. This coming CFL CBA they really need to change the ratio rule especially for QBS . When is the CFL going to get it right before it’s too late

  17. Remember this:
    The appeal to play in the US for these guys is huge, no matter what league it is. Remember how quick Damon Allen, Tracy Ham and Matt Dunigan split for home during CFL’s US expansion?

  18. What you guys are forgetting is that the CFL executives make a shit ton of money in comparison to the players and this is where a lot of team payroll goes to. No wonder teams are struggling to make money. Most of the players are underpaid in comparison to the execs and coaches.

    • What CFL executives?? where? how many? are you talking about the Commish and executives at the CFL HQ?
      What are the “executives” paid?
      You have no idea

  19. Most teams have 8+ coaches and 6-7 executives that are all easily making 100k+ per year. That’s 20 staff members combining for 2 million per year. Players are underpaid.

  20. Time for the CFL to significantly up it’s salary cap which is much too low. I don’t watch the game for the Team Presidents, General Managers & Head Coaches filling their pockets at the expense of the players. The players sacrifice, the execs don’t.

  21. CowtownDave // July 24, 2018 at 6:03 pm //

    Remember the USFL? That new league won’t survive. The CFL will be fine.

    • The USFL was trying to compete the same time as the NFL.
      This way the TV networks are starved for winter sports

  22. Another example of the high proces execs…. Ticats are paying 500k for Kent Austin as a consultant this season. (Unless they renegotiated his deal)

    • I agree, they have to cut back on consultants, coaches.
      Why do we need 12 coaches? do they need things like a full time QB coach? a DB coach?
      What’s wrong with the THREE or 4 coaches.

  23. That 76 cent dollar is not going to help, it will be a huge factor.

  24. The AAF will make a big splash to begin with. We may feel the pinch as CFL fans, but we should see a gradual choke and decline from within. Too much football will have passed and then this league starts? NOT…

  25. With only 2 leagues a lot of guys that can flat out play get cut(quarterbacks excepted). There is lots of room for another league.

  26. this could only effect the CFL for the first year, there would only be x amount of new football jobs available and the players on those new teams wouldnt just disappear after 1 year.

  27. Agree with poster who says drop the import restriction and let the best 40
    or so guys regardless of citizenship get the jobs. The football will be much better. Every team will find a few Canadians who can play and will make the roster so we’ll have some local heroes to root for. I just want to see good football.

  28. True Blue // July 24, 2018 at 7:10 pm //

    John – $100K per year is absolutely NOT a “shit ton of money.” I know people who make that and a bit more and live VERY average lives. Very far from rich and quite mediocre and “normal” lifestyles.

    I think the vast majority of CFL fans would like to see higher player salaries but we need to focus on filling stadiums regularly before that can happen.

    • 100K per year…ton of money? I know a guy who waits tables in an upscale restaurant who make about 85K per year including tips. And my son’s friend is a plumber who makes way more than 100K.

    • And that would depend where you live.
      In Toronto that wouldn’t be much money but in other cities and small towns it would be a lot of money.
      In the US where taxes are a lot lower, the cost of living is lower then $100k is a lot of money

  29. Jim Bob // July 24, 2018 at 8:53 pm //

    USA money + benefits + a 10 game regular season = a very tough sell on getting guys to come north BUT it is just a 8-10 team league. When one sees the amount of NCAA guys every year plus the CIS guys plus the NFL cuts there will be more than enough guys available to fill NFL, CFL and AFL rosters many times over. The NFL gets 1st picks, the AFL most likely 2nd picks and the CFL most likely 3rd picks due to the very reasons first mentioned salaries, benefits and length of the season. Simple as that.

  30. I read about AAF a few weeks ago and have been waiting to hear the consequences with players choosing to stay in the USA and possibly earn more $. Hope the CFL has a plan.

  31. Hey John- of course execs make more than players. They work all year and 12-18 hour days most times. Coaches work just as much or more. Average unit coach is not paid that well in the CFL. Also think now would be the ultimate worst time to lower the ratio. Canadians should always have a place in the CFL. Talent coming out of CIS keeps getting better.

  32. No Ka Oi // July 24, 2018 at 11:20 pm //

    The fact is the CFL will still be in business in 3 years, these other leagues…not so much. I don’t see how they can pay players a minimum of $109k over 10 games? Unless they have a huge TV contract, they’d have to sell 40,000-seats to generate that kind of revenue.

  33. Meanwhile, in Regina we spent $280 million on a stadium in a crumbling league/sport.
    Not the wisest investment. But there were some big egos involved so forget common sens

  34. Major Pane // July 25, 2018 at 7:13 am //

    if the CFL is survive They must make all Salaries in USD
    with Min Matching 84,000 US Keep the NFL Window on all Deals
    Your going to lose players still I would play in CFL for Less then 84,000
    I think Dark days are ahead for the CFL I see a League closing or Merging to survive

  35. Major Pane // July 25, 2018 at 7:20 am //

    Oh by the way did everyone for get they’ll be 4 league looking for players by 2020 XFL AAF CFL NFL Your going have Pay to PLAY

  36. Tiger man // July 25, 2018 at 8:51 am //

    Who is bank rolling all this money in the AAF?

    These guys best get their cash up front…those cheques may go rubbery by season’s end….

    • The only sport available in the winter is basketball so lots of potential for TV revenue from ESPN and advertisers will be on board.

  37. Colour me green // July 25, 2018 at 12:24 pm //

    The se leagues come and go. We will out last them. Will need to up the cap though.

  38. MR. Green // July 25, 2018 at 5:26 pm //

    I’d like to hear more about the AAF league salary and a cap. What are max contracts? How big are rosters? They will also go after big names and I’m happy Manziel is up here for star power. If he succeeds, he either goes back or can be up here with a nice contract.
    As I said, the new league there has too much competition as a college ND NFL just end, baseball starts, hockey and basketball are getting into seeding and playoff races, March madness will be hyped up. CFL did good by changing the rules back on contracts and NFL options, which will make it more appealing. 18 ga!es to play as opposed to 10 is a better way to hone thier skills.
    We will have many free agents as well because many signed 1 year deals with the new CBA to get done. Our cap needs a bump, however Toronto, Montreal and BC numbers will affect it.

  39. CFLs Best since 1990 // July 25, 2018 at 6:44 pm //

    From a CFL perspective, there is another interesting potential with the new league, completely related to the main topic of discussion: recruitment.

    The new league is competition, and will employ a large volume of relatively untapped talent. CFL teams that pay attention could benefit greatly from having their bird dogs on it.

    If successful, the new league will certainly impose competitive challenges for the CFL. If not, however, it could be a huge boon to CFL talent recruitment.

  40. Allison // July 25, 2018 at 9:59 pm //

    I don’t get why so many people on here are like: “ah, man, the CFL has to find out how to compete with the Alliance” or whatever other league gets formed in the US. When did the line get erased? Why does the CANADIAN Football League have to try to keep up? The league is for Canadians. It’s different. It’s borders are within Canada. It does have to figure out how to attract younger fans, and it has failed badly to do this. But it has no obligation to be entertaining or appealing to Americans. It’s apples and oranges, and let’s keep it that way.

  41. Doom & gloom We will get through this just fine My memory goes back to the start up of the AFL ,which eventually joined up with the NFL, One began to notice players coming from colleges you never heard of before There are a lot of pretty good players churned out each year down there Plus the much higher quality coming out of our schools By the way the AFL was the only upstart that ever survived

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