The Saskatchewan Roughriders did what they had to do and signed the man in charge of their football operations department to a contract extension.
Riders VP, GM, head coach and defensive coordinator, Chris Jones was heading into the final year of his contract. You generally don’t see coaches and player personnel types play out their contracts, especially in football.
While I don’t necessarily agree with the idea of a “lame duck” coach or manager, as these guys are still ultra-competitive and will continue to do what they think will help them win, even if there’s a shot they’re not with the team they’re currently with next season. Doing otherwise probably wouldn’t look good in the eyes of your next possible employer.
That said, the deal is still a good one for the Riders as it makes sure that Jones has more than this season to work for. Meaning, his decisions won’t be made with just this year in mind. Though, football naturally works year-to-year more so than any other sport given the nature of the game’s contracts versus a natural re-build with a new, younger corps for a few years. That’s especially true in the era of the one year contract in the CFL.
Adding a year is also good for Jones as it does give him a little bit of security should things not work out south of the border or on the field this season.
The deal is also a good one for Craig Reynolds and the board as it gives them a little safety and control over the situation.
With a new deal in place and a reported out-clause for the NFL or the NCAA, Reynolds has made sure that Jones won’t be jumping ship to another team in the CFL next season, not only making that team better but hurting the green and white as well.
If Jones isn’t with the Riders next season, it’s because he’s returned to the United States and if they can’t have him then at least no one else can, or it’s because the team has decided to go in another direction.
By no means am I suggesting that the Riders are going to stink in 2019 leading to Jones’ dismissal. That said, things can change fast in football. You’re only ever as good as your last season. No one really expected the franchise to fall apart halfway through 2014 and into 2015 either and we all know how that eventually played out.
By not giving Jones a longer-term extension, even with a possible Grey Cup coming to the city in either 2020 or more like 2021. Reynolds has learned from what happened under Jim Hopson. Ink your management team to a longer-term deal and you risk having to pay out the nose to get out of it like with Brendan Taman and Corey Chamblin.
That kind of cost control is extra important with the new football operations spending cap. If you can essentially sign your football ops team year-to-year, you’ll be in better shape for when the inevitable happens. No one coaches or manages forever. That’s especially true in Saskatchewan.
Nothing is a sure thing in football, but the Riders have done the best they can with this extension to try and keep Jones happy and in the fold while also keeping their options and finances open.