Derel Walker has taken a significant pay cut to rejoin Edmonton following a season with the Toronto Argonauts.
Walker signed a contract with the Argos in February 2019 that made him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the CFL. He earned $280,000 and was named an East Division all-star, recording 65 receptions for 1,040 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games.
Per sources, his new deal in Edmonton will see the 29-year-old earn $180,000 in 2021. The contract is structured to include a $98,000 base salary, a $12,000 housing bonus, and a $70,000 roster bonus that will be paid when he takes his first snap in the regular season.
Walker’s new contract helps illustrate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Player salaries are down across the board with the league working to direct teams to spend only to the salary floor of $4,750,000.
The six-foot-two, 190-pound target began his CFL career with Edmonton in 2015, starting the season on the practice roster. He played twelve games that year, recording 89 receptions for 1,110 yards and six touchdowns. He capped the season off by winning the Grey Cup while earning the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie award and a CFL all-star selection.
Walker had an even better season in 2016, his first as a full-time starter. He led the league with 109 receptions and 1,589 yards, also scoring ten touchdowns. He was named both a West Division and CFL all-star for the second consecutive year.
The Texas A&M product left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017 but was released after training camp. He rejoined Edmonton midway through the CFL season, catching 48 passes for 634 yards and two scores in eight games.
Walker played only eleven games in 2018 due to injury but still managed to record 51 receptions for 875 yards and 8 touchdowns. He was named a West Division all-star for the third time in his career.
Walker was not under contract for the 2020 CFL season prior to its cancellation.
Justin Dunk has reported that Walker’s new deal in Edmonton means that perennial all-star receiver Greg Ellingson will reach free agency.