GM Jeremy O’Day directed by Riders’ Craig Reynolds to ‘spend less’ on player salaries for 2021

Screenshot courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ president Craig Reynolds has given general manager Jeremy O’Day the financial framework with which to build his roster for the 2021 CFL season.

According to 3DownNation insider Justin Dunk, the league’s power brokers are executing an idea to limit total player compensation, even if the union doesn’t want to amend the current collective bargaining agreement.

Included in the current framework is a salary cap of $5.35 million. However, it’s never been identified that the minimum expenditure for teams around the league was set at $4.75 million for 2021. That’s exactly how franchises can save $600,000 each and $5.4 million total without any negotiation.

“I don’t think I’ll get into the details of exactly what I have to spend, but I don’t think it’s hard to figure out that it can be no lower than the floor and no higher than the max. But I have been directed to spend less than what we have in the past,” O’Day said in a video conference.

“We will have less money to spend on player salaries moving forward, and I don’t think it’s a terrible ask from our organization to ask us to do that with the impact that the pandemic has had on our organization.”

Member clubs were proposing that each president sign an agreement to ensure spending to the salary cap floor is enforced. Although, that would require the honour system and could create compliance issues. Theoretically, a team could still spend to the maximum salary cap to provide the best chance to play at Tim Hortons Field in the 2021 Grey Cup.

“For this upcoming season, my directive from our president Craig is that we’ll be spending less than we did in 2020. Let’s face it, it’s not just the players that are being impacted, coaches and the staff have all been impacted as well,” O’Day said.

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.

Being able to cut roughly $10 million off the books should bode well for returning to play in the future, but there remains a train of thought in league circles that the coronavirus is being used as a convenient excuse to reduce the amount of cash flowing to CFL players.