The Chris Jones departure is a double standard says a CFL player

Chris Jones move to work for the Cleveland Browns reveals a startling double standard when it comes to players in the league and their flexibility versus coaches says one CFL player.

Jones left the Saskatchewan Roughriders to take a job with the Browns this week, having just signed an extension a couple weeks ago. While Jones had an NFL out in his contract, our Darrel Davis wrote at that the time that Jones shouldn’t be able to leave his post for a job in the NFL.

But that’s exactly what happened.

When a player signs a multi-year contract, they must honour it. In fact, the league has fined teams in the past for releasing players ahead of a final year on their contract to pursue an NFL opportunity.

One CFL player I spoke says there’s a feeling around the league that the situation creates a double standard.

“I think it’s unfair that coaches can do things that players aren’t allowed to do,” the player said “You are going to trap players here, but you aren’t going to hold coaches to that? I don’t get it.”

He went on to say that players who move teams for a bigger cheque get treated as though they are mercenaries while coaches get a free pass.

“Look what happened in Edmonton, (Jones) wins a Grey Cup then he bounces to the next team that will give him more money… He went to Sask and promised them a Grey Cup. He’s leaving before he got that Grey Cup.”

Zach Evans and Patrick Lavoie have recently re-signed contracts in Saskatchewan to play for Jones. Now they seem to be the high school kids who sign a letter of intent for a US College only to see the coach they agreed to play for head to a bigger school before a game is even played.

With CBA negotiations looming, one has to wonder if the CFLPA will insist on players having the same freedom of movement clauses available to them when it comes to other leagues.

“I’d advocate for it,” he said before noting that it may not be the primary focus of the negotiations. “I think the American players would want it more because it’s our dream to play in the NFL.”

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