Contract details: Willie Jefferson’s new deal with the Riders

Saskatchewan Roughrider defensive end Willie Jefferson has reworked his contract to give the team more cap room.

Jefferson initially agreed to a one-year extension last November but has since agreed to tweak the deal to include more money up front – an $75,000 total signing bonus – in order to lower the overall amount of the contract. Signing bonuses for American players are taxed at a lower rate so Jefferson’s net pay is unaffected but the overall agreement is more cap-friendly for the Riders.

The new contract will still pay him more than $155,000 in “hard money” on the restructured agreement.

Jefferson has signalled his return to Riderville.

The 27-year-old recorded 45 tackles and a team-high eight sacks to go with one defensive touchdown while starting all 18 regular-season games. The six-foot-six, 245-pounder led the league in quarterback pressures with 34 – nine more than the next closest defender. He added three tackles, one sack and one interception in two playoff games.

Jefferson has spent all four seasons in Canada in Chris Jones’ defence, two in Edmonton and two Saskatchewan. Jefferson has played in 58 CFL games making 93 tackles, 21 sacks, forcing four fumbles and adding a blocked punt he returned for a touchdown.

Jones has a strong affinity for Jefferson as he fits perfectly in his defensive scheme and the addition of veteran Charleston Hughes on Friday should provide the Riders with a fearsome pass rush tandem next season.