A Calgary Stampeders’ player has put the team on blast for not allowing him to play in the United States Football League.
Defensive back Derrick Jones was selected with the fourth pick in the ninth round of the inaugural USFL Draft by the New Orleans Breakers. This raised eyebrows across the CFL, as Jones was already under contract with Calgary and the USFL was supposed to honour existing CFL contracts.
TSN’s Farhan Lalji quickly reported that this was an oversight on behalf of the new league and was being rectified to keep Jones a Stampeder, but the player in question had other ideas.
“It’s already hard enough, I’m just trying to provide for my family. For the Calgary Stampeders to ignore me and have this tweeted out is very disrespectful,” Jones tweeted in response to Lalji’s report.
Minutes later, Jones doubled down, sharing screenshots of private messages with Stampeders’ management. The former Ole Miss defensive back tagged both the Stampeders’ team account and the CFL
“It’s sad how y’all try treat athletes. I humbly made it clear that I wanted to weigh my options. Way before the USFL draft. Is why I chose to enter the draft. I think It’s very unprofessional for y’all to ignore me until after the USFL draft.”
@CFL @calstampeders It’s sad how y’all try treat athletes. I humbly made it clear that I wanted to weigh my options. Way before the @USFL draft. Is why I chose to enter the draft. I think It’s very unprofessional for y’all to ignore me until after the usfl draft. pic.twitter.com/wPStqaEAR6
— Derrick Jones (@islandboybonez) February 24, 2022
The screengrabs show fragments of conversation with Stamps’ defensive coordinator Brent Monson, beginning on February 11. In them, Jones, who signed his futures contract with the Stampeders in October, indicates he is not fully committed to the team due to USFL interest. After Monson responds that Jones will have a better opportunity with the Stampeders than the USFL, Jones doubles down.
“I’m more of a business like guy. I understand you would like for me to tryout and play in Canada. I would love to try that. I have two kids, if that was my only option, of course, no hesitation I’m there. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity, but with the USFL coming along I would like to get more detail before I make a decision,” he said.
Communication then stops until February 15 when, after being prompted by Jones, Monson indicates he has informed the Stampeders’ personnel department of the issue.
The tweet also includes a screengrab of an emails sent by Stampeders’ football administration director Molly Campbell on February 12, saying that director of player personnel Brendan Mahoney would be in contact. Jones alleges no such contact was made until after the USFL draft.
While issues of ethics surround restriction of player movement, the Stampeders are well within their legal rights to bar Jones from leaving for the USFL.
Based on his registered CFL contract, which became valid in December and was announced less than two weeks before the shared conversations, Jones was slated to be paid a base salary of $65,000 CAD for the 2022 season, with a $1,500 CAD travel allowance and $3,500 CAD for housing. He could earn up to an additional $6,000 CAD if certain performance metrics are reached.
USFL contracts pay a standard rate of $45,000 USD for their 10 game season, with the potential for win-based incentives. A player on an undefeated USFL championship team could earn a maximum of $75,750 USD.
Jones was selected in the sixth round, 204th overall, by the New York Jets in the 2017 NFL Draft and he made three tackles in four games with the team. He later was with the Green Bay Packers and the Houston Texans. Jones signed with the XFL’s Seattle Dragons in 2020 and played two games, making one defensive tackle and one special teams tackle.
The six-foot-two, 188-pound cover man played 44 games over four seasons at Mississippi. He tallied 54 tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss, six passes defended, two interceptions including one returned for a touchdown and one forced fumble. Jones also played receiver during his time with the Rebels, making 11 receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns.