Spending cap coming for football operations expenditures

The CFL league office is working to put a spending cap in place for coaches, general managers and football operations departments.

For player compensation, the current salary cap is $5.2 million per team with a minimum of $54,000. The current salary management system was adopted in 2006 to balance the financial playing field across the league. Penalties for cap violations are fined $1 for each $1 a team exceeds the cap limit and draft picks can also be taken away.

But the league has never moved to limit how much franchises can spend on coaches and front office executives. Teams flush with cash can spend lavishly on coaches and scouting which may force others to dole out big dollars despite being in the red. There are two prime examples at the opposite end of the spectrums.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders hired general manager and head coach Chris Jones for more than $500,000 on a three-year in December 2015, which has since been extended through the 2019 season. That deal came after the Riders let Brendan Taman and Corey Chamblin go in August 2015 when the team started 0-9 and the pair each had two seasons to run on their contracts through 2017. Between those three men alone, Saskatchewan would easily have been paying over $1 million for two years.

The Toronto Argonauts extended Jim Barker and Scott Milanovich through the 2018 season prior to the 2015 campaign. Barker was fired in late January 2017 after six seasons as Argos general manager. Milanovich resigned days later to become the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach. The Argos would be on the hook for the length of Barker’s pact at a healthy GM-type salary because the team issued him a pink slip. Toronto went out and got Jim Popp to go with Marc Trestman to take over the respective roles, combined the tandem makes north of $1.2 million.

Capping the spending would place more importance on the hiring process and contractual commitments made to football coaches and personnel men and improve the financial bottom line for clubs. It’s a way for teams to control costs and level the playing field.

Owners and presidents will have to more diligent when making hiring and contract length decisions.

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