Ten CFL players with roster bonuses scheduled for February 1

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The CFL is looking to cut player spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in a large number of players restructuring their contracts.

Quarterbacks Bo Levi Mitchell, Mike Reilly, and Trevor Harris have renegotiated their deals, as have all-stars such as Sean McEwen, Willie Jefferson, and Cleyon Laing.

There are at least ten players who are still guaranteed off-season money on February 1, which is significant because bonuses count against the salary cap even if a player is released. This could result in players being cut, having their deals renegotiated or teams committing to them by honouring the original contract.

Players are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks

The 27-year-old is due $150,000 on Monday, which would be a major investment for Ottawa to make in their young passer. General manager Marcel Desjardins has been working on a restructure for weeks, though no new deal has yet been reached.

LB Micah Awe, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Awe’s bonus is relatively small — $5,000 — but the Bombers are still trying to restructure his contract, per source. Winnipeg already has incumbent starters Adam Bighill and Kyrie Wilson under contract for 2021, so Awe figures to serve in a depth/special teams role.

OL Philip Blake, Toronto Argonauts

The former NFL draft pick signed with Toronto ahead of the 2020 season, but has now spent a full year out of football at the age of 35. He’s due $25,000 on Monday, which means the Double Blue will have to make a decision regarding his future.

OL Jamal Campbell, Toronto Argonauts

The Argos spent four seasons developing the York product into a starting-calibre right tackle. He’s soon due a bonus of $25,000 on a contract worth almost $200,000 per season, which means it’s likely that Toronto will want him to accept a pay cut.

REC Ricky Collins Jr., Edmonton Football Team

Collins is coming off his first 1,000-yard season and is slated to receive a $33,000 bonus on Monday. After Greg Ellingson re-signed with Edmonton on Saturday, Collins’ future with the team appears to be in jeopardy.

REC DaVaris Daniels, Toronto Argonauts

The star receiver signed a two-year deal with Toronto last year worth almost $200,000 per season. He’s due $80,000 on February 1 and the Argos could have some leverage in renegotiations given the recent addition of former NFL receiver Martavis Bryant.

DL Fabion Foote, Toronto Argonauts

The 2017 second-round pick signed with his hometown Argos in February 2020 and is soon due a payment of $12,500. Toronto will have to make a choice — pay their local talent, restructure his deal or cut him loose.

OL Sean Jamieson, Montreal Alouettes

The Winnipeg native had the best year of his career in 2019, starting twelve games at guard and two games at tackle. He’s due a $15,000 bonus on February 1 and the Alouettes could ill-afford to lose the up-and-coming lineman.

QB Matt Nichols, Toronto Argonauts

The soon-to-be 34-year-old is due a salary advance of $220,000 and — alongside Arbuckle — is one of two quarterbacks who has yet to restructure his contract. The leverage may be on Toronto’s side with McLeod Bethel-Thompson currently a free agent.

REC Brad Sinopoli, Ottawa Redblacks

The former CFL Most Outstanding Canadian is due $25,000 on Monday, which is a significant amount for a player who turns 33 in April. He’s coming off his worst season as a member of the Redblacks, but the local product still has a lot of value.

Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins ‘not panicked’ about contract restructure discussions with QB Nick Arbuckle

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.