The Canadian Football League is granting its teams a little extra time to make roster decisions following the end of the league’s first player strike since 1974.
On Friday, the league announced that teams will need to cut down their roster to 75 players by 11:59 p.m. EST on the day following their first pre-season game.
Teams were initially scheduled to cut down their roster on May 17, three days into training camp, but seven CFL teams were not on the field for that deadline after players walked off the job Sunday. Now that a tentative deal has been reached on a new collective bargaining agreement, players on every team will get more than a week to state their case to coaches.
The Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders have been accused of having a competitive advantage entering the season after Alberta labour laws allowed them to practice while other teams were on strike. However, it is the Saskatchewan Roughriders who will get a leg up on the competition thanks to the cut-down change.
The Riders will not have to make cuts until June 1, due to the rescheduling of their first pre-season game. Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and Winnipeg will have to trim their rosters on May 28, while B.C., Calgary, Montreal and Hamilton will follow on May 29.
Teams already cut their rosters down to 85 players plus non-counters — draft picks and territorial exemptions — following the conclusion of rookie camps. Final roster cuts will be made following the conclusion of training camps on June 4.