3DownNation will be unveiling a series of top-ten lists over the next few days regarding the highest-paid players in the CFL.
Please note that salaries, roster bonuses, housing allowances, and performance bonuses have been prorated over the CFL’s shortened 14-game season in 2021. This means players will earn 22 percent less than the values listed under those designations. Only signing bonuses are being paid in full.
Prorated contract values have been listed below in parenthesis beside their full values. In the event that players make the same amount of money, they are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
1) Derel Walker, Edmonton Elks (A) — $180,000 ($156,000)
The four-time all-star earned a $70,000 signing bonus to ink a one-year contract with the Elks. He has not lived up to the hype that surrounded his return to Edmonton and currently sits well outside the CFL’s top ten receivers with 35 catches for 423 yards and zero touchdowns.
2) Lemar Durant, B.C. Lions (N) — $175,000 ($142,000)
The native of Coquitlam, B.C. received a $22,000 roster bonus on February 1 and another $5,000 bonus after reporting to training camp. He has not played much this season due to injury, making just 16 receptions for 200 yards.
3) Shaq Evans, Saskatchewan Roughriders (A) — $165,000 ($132,000)
The reigning CFL all-star got a $15,000 signing bonus to re-sign with the Riders following a breakout season in 2019. A foot injury has limited him to just two games but Evans should be back later this year to help Saskatchewan make a playoff run.
4) Brandon Banks, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (A) — $162,000 ($135,000)
The league’s reigning Most Outstanding Player collected a $40,000 signing bonus to re-up with the Ticats, which helped buoy his prorated earnings. He will receive a prorated $3,000 bonus if he is named the league’s M.O.P. for a second consecutive season, though that seems unlikely given how much time he’s missed due to injury.
5) Greg Ellingson, Edmonton Elks (A) — $155,000 ($116,000)
The eight-year CFL veteran received a $50,000 signing bonus to sign back with the Elks for 2021. He currently leads the team in receptions (37) and receiving yards (519) though he has just one receiving touchdown.
6) Nic Demski, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (A) — $145,000 ($113,000)
The Winnipeg native does not have any bonuses in his contract for major awards, which is a shame considering he’s currently a strong candidate for Most Outstanding Canadian. He has made 33 receptions for 512 yards and three touchdowns this season and is close to setting a number of new career-highs.
7) Tevaun Smith, Edmonton Elks (A) — $145,000 ($113,000)
The 28-year-old will receive a prorated $1,000 bonus for being named a West Division all-star, though that seems unlikely given he’s recorded just 17 receptions for 198 yards this season. Smith seems to have fallen back on Edmonton’s depth chart behind fellow nationals Mike Jones and Shai Ross.
8) Eugene Lewis, Montreal Alouettes (A) — $142,000 ($116,000)
The four-year veteran received a $28,000 signing bonus to return to the Als in 2021 and has earned every penny thus far in 2021, recording 36 receptions for 604 yards and four touchdowns.
9) Bralon Addison, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (A) — $136,500 ($114,000)
The reigning league all-star received a $35,000 signing bonus to sign with the Ticats through 2022 following a brief stint in the NFL. He has made a nice impact with Hamilton since returning from an injury that held him out of the first seven games of the season.
10) Kamar Jorden, Calgary Stampeders (A) — $135,000 ($108,000)
The 32-year-old got a $10,000 signing bonus to ink his deal for 2021 and a prorated $5,000 bonus for making the active roster in Week 1. He also receives an extra $500 each week he makes the active roster and plays a minimum of one down.
Editor’s note: recently-signed Saskatchewan Roughriders’ receiver Duke Williams would appear on this list but has been omitted due to signing so late in the season. He will earn $73,000 in 2021 due to the proration of his contract.