Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters believes the new negotiating period has been put in place to curtail behind the scenes communication between CFL teams and players.
The league has outlined the details regarding the new policy prior to free agency. Prior to the market opening on February 11, CFL teams will have one week to contact player who have expiring contracts from other franchises beginning February 2 at noon easter time.
“Theoretically, it’s to stop the tampering with teams calling agents saying we’ll do this for your player,” Walters said.
Pending free agent and reigning CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player, defensive lineman Willie Jefferson works as an ideal example. There will be multiple suitors for Jefferson if Winnipeg cannot sign the disruptor to a new contract for 2020 or beyond.
“If teams are calling Willie’s agent or there’s communication amongst Willie’s agent and all the other teams and they’re going to say we’ll pay you ‘X’ amount of dollars, at least now the agent can call their bluff and say: ‘well then put it on paper,'” Walters said.
“And those people will be held accountable. If somebody wants to put an offer in for Willie, they have to put it on paper register it through the league and Willie and his agent will see it. So they’ll know full well and that team will be held accountable to that number.”
Any offer for Jefferson must be registered with the league office and to the CFLPA, including the base salary amount as well as any incentives that will be part of the deal. If a team submits an offer to Jefferson during the seven-day window, it will be considered binding and it cannot be rescinded.
“You better be sure because if you put a number on paper, you’re held accountable to that number,” Walters said.
If no offer is accepted by Jefferson, he will become a free agent on Feb. 11 at 12:01 p.m. eastern time. Any offers made to Jefferson prior to the point of reaching free agency are deemed to be withdrawn and no longer available for acceptance. After Jefferson reaches free agency, offers no longer need to be provided to the CFL or CFLPA.