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New Jennings deal with Lions byproduct of reality

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The restructured contract reportedly agreed upon by Jon Jennings with the B.C. Lions is one of the first signs that the reality-based world under which they operated under Wally Buono for years will be no different with Ed Hervey in charge.

The details, as reported by TSN Friday, suggest Jennings will last through the upcoming CFL season but will be driven instead by incentives, with the added suggestion that the extra salary cap funds now available will allow the Lions to spend more in free agency next month along the offensive line.

In practical terms, that’s a pretty reasonable move by Jennings, who probably would dearly give back what was coming to him this season if he could guarantee he wouldn’t take the beating absorbed as a result of inadequate protection.

But it still amounts to a pay cut by any other definition, which is how it always rolled when Buono was wielding his big stick and clearly no different now with Hervey in charge.

B.C.’s moves in the first quarter of the off-season recruiting period have been textbook. Manny Arceneaux, Cody Husband are foundational pieces. Mike Benson has been solid as a long-snapper. The Gabe Knapton acquisition for Chris Williams could turn out very well. You could quibble about the announcement Friday that import tackle Antonio Johnson is back for two seasons, as it reduces Hervey’s ability to shop around slightly next month when the market becomes clear, but the man obviously wasn’t going to toss everyone overboard and start completely fresh.

Mark it down as a solid move if the Lions can get pending free agents Chandler Fenner, Loucheiz Purifoy and Shaquille Johnson to sign deals in the next month. Yes, Travis Lulay, too.

Jennings, meantime, is now in the somewhat enviable position of being able to play for a substantial payday while still under contract going into what inarguably will be the biggest pivotal season of his young career.

Turn in 2016 numbers and he can make a case for real top quarterbacking money. A repeat of last year and well, you don’t need to be told what happens here. To be sure, Jennings is a victim of bad timing; remember, he was being given peanuts when he threw for 5,226 yards and 27 touchdowns two seasons ago when his eyes were downfield and always wasn’t running for his life, and was finally due to make more than Lulay this year, a reported $300,000, until now.

Call him a victim of reality – getting paid for what you’ve done as opposed to what you might do in the future.

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About the author

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.

By Lowell Ullrich

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