Alouettes’ GM Danny Maciocia: accepting pay cut ‘shows what kind of leader Vernon (Adams Jr.) is’

Photo courtesy: Dominick Gravel

We all have to make sacrifices during a pandemic and Vernon Adams Jr. didn’t hesitate to do his part.

Photo courtesy: Dominick Gravel

The Montreal Alouettes signed new contracts with veteran players this week, all of whom took less money to help the team keep its core together moving forward.

“For me it was automatic,” said Adams via videoconference. “I think it started back when the 2020 season first cancelled. I reached out to (general manager) Danny (Maciocia) and I was just like, ‘Hey coach, whatever you need help with — some recruiting, anything, just let me know.'”

The team approached their star quarterback about potentially taking less money in 2021 to help keep the team together and he was happy to oblige.

Alouettes rework contract of quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. for 2021 season

“I do whatever I can to keep some talent around and stay competitive,” said Adams. “No-brainer.”

“It shows what kind of leader Vernon is,” said Maciocia. “He was able to foresee some of this knowing full-well that there probably would have to be some sacrifices made. Montrealers and in particular our football community should be extremely excited about having a player of the magnitude of Vernon Adams be part of the organization, knowing full-well that he’s a tremendous leader and he wants what’s best for not only the football team but for the city of Montreal.”

The other veterans who accepted less money to re-sign with Montreal were Tony Washington and Eugene Lewis. As the team’s starting left tackle and top receiver, both play a large role in the Alouettes’ offensive success.

“We saw something last year,” said Washington. “I just want to get it all back. So that’s what I’m coming back for and I appreciate you guys reaching out to me and believing me and wanting me back.”

Montreal made the playoffs in 2019 for the first time in five seasons. The team looked rejuvenated under new head coach Khari Jones, finishing the year with a 10-8 record.

“I love Montreal. I love the nucleus that we got going on,” said Lewis. “We know what we’re capable of, we know the potential that we have with this team and we’re gonna let all the puzzles come together and let’s get it going.”

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Maciocia explained that these pay cuts allowed the team to re-sign star running back William Stanback, while also making it easier to attract new players as they become available.

“The credit should go to these three individuals with others who have sacrificed to make this happen,” said the general manager. “Like I said, this is not something you normally see in professional sports, but it talks to the individuals, it talks to this organization — the fact that they’re happy here and it talks to the fact that they’re looking forward to spending the little while of their careers as Alouettes.”

“With the other players and elements that we’re going to add to this nucleus, that inspires me to think that moving forward to 2021, we’re going to have a legitimate opportunity to compete for a championship.”

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.