Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

Jordan Williams-Lambert had a unique arrangement with the Riders and the CFL.

That’s why it took some extra time for him to make his way back to Saskatchewan following NFL training camp cuts. Despite a strong showing in the Windy City, five catches for 49 yards in the pre-season, the Chicago Bears let him go.

The receiver’s two-year rookie minimum deal with Saskatchewan was signed in April of 2018 – three months before the CFL reinstated the NFL window in July. Williams-Lambert filed a grievance with the league late last year for the right to pursue NFL opportunities and ended by settling, reaching an agreement that allowed him to sign with the Bears.

The settlement between Williams-Lambert and the league stipulated that his CFL rights would remain in the Riders’ hands should he be released south of the border.

Chicago paid Williams-Lambert $15,000 USD to sign and guaranteed $30,000 USD of his base salary. The Bears included standard offset language in his contract, which specific stated that any money made playing professional football (including in Canada) could be deducted from the guaranteed portion of his NFL salary.

That gave Williams-Lambert no incentive to rush back to Riderville; playing for Saskatchewan would only eat into his NFL earnings. William-Lambert’s existing CFL contract was worth a pro-rated $21,000 over the final seven games of the season. Given the risk of injury in pro ball, it gave no reason for the six-foot-four, 230-pounder to return to Saskatchewan.

Eager for Williams-Lambert to put on the green and white, the Riders offered their reigning Most Outstanding Rookie a new contract. Williams-Lambert received a $30,000 signing bonus for inking the fresh deal and it pays around $30,000 in salary for the rest of the CFL season. The deal included a second year that is worth approximately $150,000.

The extra money is worth it for both parties. The Riders add an impact pass catcher into the mix with Shaq Evans, Kyran Moore and Naaman Roosevelt as weapons for quarterback Cody Fajardo. While Saskatchewan prevents the young star – big-bodied pass catcher who runs well (4.64 40-yard dash) for his size – from reaching CFL free agency in February 2020.

Williams-Lambert gets to play out the season while enjoying financial security. He will be able to take advantage of the NFL window again after this season should an opportunity arise.

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Justin Dunk is the pre-eminent CFL insider and unabashed supporter of Canadian quarterbacks. He is one of the founders of the new 3DownNation.