Spirit of the season: QB Cody Fajardo provides salary cap relief for Riders

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo has given back to his teammates and franchise.

Fajardo has signed off on a restructured contract for the 2021 season.

Fajardo converted his $180,000 roster bonus, which was due on February 1, 2021, into a $140,000 signing bonus. That lowers his hard money total for the upcoming year to $404,000. It helps the Riders with the salary cap — saving $40,000 — and puts money in Fajardo’s pocket now plus nets out approximately even after taxes.

If the CFL does return to play in 2021, Fajardo’s base salary checks in at $250,000 with $12,000 in housing money ($2,000 per month June to November); $2,000 travel allowance, and incentives: $2,000 West Division all-star; $3,000 CFL all-star, $5,000 league Most Outstanding Player.

Despite the restructuring, it’s a substantial raise on what Fajardo made in 2019. His one-year deal was a bargain, paying him $86,800 in hard money. Fajardo made nearly every possible dollar on his contract last season, which totaled around $150,000 for the starting quarterback.

Priority No. 1 for Riders’ GM Jeremy O’Day is extending franchise QB Cody Fajardo

Even though the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID-19, Fajardo collected his $175,000 roster bonus last February. He actually earned more money over the last year compared to putting his body through an entire season in 2019.

Fajardo led the Riders to a 12-4 record throwing for a CFL-leading 4,302 yards while completing over 71 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns against eight interceptions. The dual-threat pivot used his legs for 611 yards and 10 touchdowns on 107 rushing attempts, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

The CFL all-star quarterback was named the West Division’s Most Outstanding Player in his first full season as a starter. Fajardo wants to win a Grey Cup and the extra money can help the Riders keep the core together while he realizes other players have had more difficult years financially.

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