Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ general manager Kyle Walters is working through cutting $500,000 from the football ops cap for the 2021 year.
The rollback was mandated by commissioner Randy Ambrosie due to the financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and a canceled 2020 season.
“Everybody’s taken their initial pay cut to get through 2020, and now you have to revisit. It’s trying to look at what 2021 looks like with half a million dollars off the operating budget for salaries for coaches and scouts,” Walters told Postmedia reporter Paul Friesen.
In December 2018, the CFL laid out the details for the non-player costs that were implemented for the 2019 season and stated it would be reviewed after the 2020 campaign.
Originally, the cap was set at just under $2.59 million. According to sources, the league wants to shave it down closer to $2 million, trimming 20 percent or the equivalent of over $500,000 per team which saves franchises approximately $4.5 million combined.
“This is what you’ve signed on for for 2021, which is not gonna work,” Walters said. “Because the cap’s been cut.”
General managers, coaches, scouts, equipment people and video personnel count under the cap. Teams are limited to coaching staffs of 11 and 14 other football operations individuals, totaling 25.
For the purposes of the cap, expenses include wages, salaries, benefits such as health plans, housing allowances and playoff bonuses, which exceed the player share. Exclusions include business expenses, complimentary tickets and meals while working.
“You start worrying about the long-term of our league,” Walters said. “But I hope that the smart guys in the league office and the board of directors and the presidents can figure out a way to make it happen.”
Ever since Ambrosie revealed that CFL teams collectively lose between $10 and $20 million per season, he’s been open about the fact the league needed to remodel its business plan and football operations is feeling the pain once again.