The CFL’s new territorial exemption rules are ill-timed and terrible

The CFL just announced that it is adding territorial exemptions to its draft process which, on the face of it, is a good idea.

But the execution is horrendous.

Here’s what the league has decided to do:

The two teams with the highest waiver priority will each get to make one Territorial Draft Pick – to be used to select a player born within their territorial limits at the end of the second round.

So the CFL has arbitrarily given a competitive advantage to the two crappiest teams in the draft, essentially handing them another second-round pick. Territorial exemptions should benefit every team – the Riders have been repatriating guys for years – not just the terrible ones.

Theoretically, it should all balance out over time but in practice but it could take decades. In the meantime, the league just handed Toronto and Montreal an extra pick in an extremely deep 2019 CFL Draft.

Not to be all conspiracy-theorist, but the league has also helped two teams in Eastern Canada who are struggling mightily at the gate, one of which is in the midst of an ownership change. How does this help West Division teams, who would also benefit from having home-grown talent on their rosters? In the short term, it doesn’t.

And Montreal GM Kavis Reed, who has pissed away draft picks like a drunken sailor on shore leave, gets a get-out-ratio-jail-free card courtesy of the commissioner.

Any territorial exemption system should equally benefit all teams because it’s addressing an issue that all teams share. This feels like another good idea ruined by rushed and faulty implementation. The Draft is just over two weeks away and the league has arbitrarily changed the rules to benefit two East teams. It might make territorial sense but it’s categorically unfair.

Drew Edwards is the founder of 3DownNation but has since wandered off. Beard in the photo not exactly as shown.