Each Canadian Football League franchise can save $600,000 by spending to the salary cap floor at $4.75 million instead of the $5.35 million ceiling for the 2021 season.
Teams trying to save money on salaries could be looking to reduce existing deals with the highest-paid players on their respective rosters.
“Quarterbacks first and foremost. The top-paid guys in most positions are going to get a cut. I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of non-quarterbacks make over $200,000 for a long, long time, again,” The Sports Network reporter Farhan Lalji said on TSN 1260 radio’s The Dave Jamieson Show.
Premier pivots Mike Reilly, Bo Levi Mitchell and Trevor Harris are the top-paid players in the league in that order. Reilly’s current deal has him scheduled to earn $725,000 per season, Mitchell averages $700,000 and Harris is in the range of $600,000.
“The quarterback market, at the top end, basically went up 40 percent over the last two years. That’s not sustainable coming out of a pandemic. It’s inevitable that it’s going to change,” Lalji said on TSN 1260 radio’s The Nielson Show.
“I do think there is going to be a reset of the quarterback market — there has to be. The league can’t function financially without it. At least half the quarterbacks in the league are going to wind up having to renegotiate their deals and take a little bit less going forward.”
The football operations cap has been trimmed by 20 percent from just under $2.59 million to $2 million or the equivalent of over $500,000 per team. Add together the general managers, coaches, scouts, equipment people and video personnel savings with the players and it totals nearly $10 million — significant money in the CFL.
“They want to negotiate a new CBA, but the players may not want to do that. When you look at what they’re doing operating at the minimum of the cap versus the maximum, they’re trying to do that. The league is preparing to operate without a change,” Lalji said.
The current collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2021 season and officially ends prior to training camp for the 2022 season. After the strain that COVID-19 put on the league’s financials, it’s possible the salary cap could be lowered and alternate ways to split up the money coming into the CFL could be explored — namely, revenue sharing.
“I do think you could see a cap on individual salaries. You’ve got a minimum salary, could you not have a maximum salary? You do with an overall cap, so why don’t you with individual positions? I’ve long advocated for a position cap,” Lalji said.
“I just don’t think this league is in its best place when they’re paying Canadian offensive linemen the lion’s share of the money. I just don’t think that’s what fans want to see. I would hope that all of those issues can get addressed so it’s not all the quarterbacks bearing the brunt of it.”