The CFL’s ten highest-paid defensive backs

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

3DownNation is unveiling a series of top-ten lists regarding the highest-paid players in the CFL by position.

We’ve already reported the top-earning quarterbacksrunning backsreceiversoffensive linemen, defensive linemen, and linebackers, so today we’re shifting to the defensive backs.

Please note that salaries, roster bonuses, housing allowances, and performance bonuses were 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 were 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) S Antoine Pruneau, Ottawa Redblacks (N) — $142,500 ($109,000)

The 32-year-old received a prorated off-season bonus worth $40,000 before the season got underway along with his prorated salary. He also earned an additional $2,500 for dressing for at least nine regular season games.

2) S Tunde Adeleke, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (N) — $132,000 ($106,000)

The Carleton product collected a $15,000 signing bonus to extend his contract with Hamilton. He also received an additional prorated $1,000 bonus for being named an East Division all-star at safety.

3) S Royce Metchie, Calgary Stampeders (N) — $125,000 ($92,000)

The Guelph product earned a prorated $10,000 active roster bonus in February 2021. His prorated earnings would have been higher but he played only seven games in 2021 due to a bicep injury that required surgery.

4) HB T.J. Lee, B.C. Lions (A) — $120,000 ($100,000)

The 31-year-old made 83 total tackles in 2021 after collecting a $30,000 signing bonus to play a seventh season in Vancouver. He also made four interceptions, tying a career high in just 14 starts.

T-4) S Marcus Sayles, B.C. Lions (A) — $120,000 ($98,000)

The 2019 CFL all-star inked a big-money deal to join the Lions, including a $20,000 signing bonus and a prorated $15,000 bonus for making the active roster for the first time. Sayles ended up starting 13 games at safety, halfback, and strong-side linebacker.

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

T-4) S Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders (N) — $120,000 ($96,000)

The eight-year veteran suffered a season-ending wrist dislocation in the Banjo Bowl, limiting him to just five games in 2021. He received a $10,000 signing bonus to re-sign with the Riders and is a pending free agent.

T-7) CB Jonathon Mincy, Edmonton Elks (A) — $110,000 ($93,000)

The Auburn product earned a $35,000 signing bonus to join the Elks on a deal that also included a prorated $10,000 in housing money. He started nine games at boundary cornerback in 2021, making 19 tackles.

T-7) HB Loucheiz Purifoy, Saskatchewan Roughriders (A) — $110,000 ($90,000)

The five-year veteran had an excellent year in Saskatchewan, making 42 total tackles and two interceptions in 12 games. His deal included a $20,000 signing bonus, which brought him back for a third season in Riderville.

T-7) HB Ed Gainey, Saskatchewan Roughriders (A) — $110,000 ($89,000)

The 31-year-old received a $15,000 signing bonus to rejoin the Riders as well as a prorated $10,000 active roster bonus after dressing for their first game. He made 38 total tackles, three interceptions, and one forced fumble in another strong year.

Photo courtesy: Toronto Argonauts

T-7) HB Shaquille Richardson, Toronto Argonauts (A) — $110,000 ($87,500)

The four-year veteran earned $1,000 each time he played over 51 percent of Toronto’s defensive snaps as well as $1,500 for being named an East Division all-star. He had a great years on the field, making 37 total tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

T-7) S Jordan Hoover, Edmonton Elks (N) — $110,000 ($84,000)

The Waterloo product made 51 total tackles and an interception in 2021. His prorated earnings were relatively low because his deal did not include a signing bonus and he missed two starts, causing him to miss out on a little bonus money.

Best of the rest: CB DaShaun Amos, Calgary Stampeders; HB Ciante Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats; SAM Patrick Levels, Montreal Alouettes; CB Nick Marshall, Saskatchewan Roughriders (A); CB Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.