The reigning Most Outstanding Canadian in the CFL — national linebacker Henoc Muamba — took a major discount to play for his hometown Toronto Argonauts.
He accepted a $100,000-plus pay cut to sign a one-year deal with the team that started his love of football as a child. It was an in-class visit from Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons which left a lasting impression on Muamba.
Years after delivering an inspiring speech at Father Michael Goetz Secondary School, Clemons sold Muamba on putting pen to paper with the double blue as part of an overhauled roster.
There have been speculative claims made by fans and reporters that the Argos are over the allotted salary cap — if that even matters, given the league office didn’t fine the franchise for doing so in 2019 — but the financial details of Muamba’s agreement prove otherwise.
Muamba had an all-star year the last time a full season was played in Canada, recording 93 tackles, forcing two fumbles and notching one sack with the Montreal Alouettes. In 2019, the former No. 1 overall CFL Draft pick made $211,016.
2019 contract breakdown: $86,000 in base salary, $50,000 active roster bonus January 15, $37,500 active roster bonus April 15, $20,016 housing, $10,000 travel allowance, which equals $203,516 in hard money.
Muamba earned $2,500 for recording 50 tackles, an additional $2,500 for 75 tackles, and $5,000 for 90 tackles. Reaching 110 tackles would have netted Muamba $5,000 more.
Even though the 2020 CFL season was cancelled, Muamba collected $83,000 from his contract last year.
2020 contract breakdown: $100,000 base salary, $41,500 active roster bonus January 15, $41,500 active roster bonus April 15, $20,016 housing, and $10,000 travel allowance. which could have equaled $213,016 in hard money.
He again had $10,000 in tackle bonuses available for 50, 75, 90, and 110. His total earning potential was $223,016.
The 32-year-old can bring home a maximum of $90,000 if a full CFL season is played this year. That’s just $7,000 over the amount he got for being at home in Mississauga in 2020 during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 contract breakdown: $66,000 base salary, $12,000 housing, and $7,000 signing bonus, which equals $85,000 in hard money.
Muamba has $5,000 available in per game playtime bonuses, he can earn $277.77 each time out for playing 51 percent or more of the defensive snaps.
Even though Muamba’s level of play was elite, the combination of teams spending to the salary cap floor ($4.75 million) due to the impact of the virus and him wanting to suit up for the team of his youth changed the compensation price.
Similar to many other players, coaches, and football executives around the league, Muamba had to accept the new reality and chose to do so with the Argos.