Quarterbacks Jake Maier, Taylor Cornelius sign landmark partially guaranteed CFL contracts

Photos: Larry MacDougal. Photo edit: 3DownNation.

Quarterbacks Jake Maier and Taylor Cornelius have ushered in a new era for Canadian Football League players upon signing contract extensions with their respective teams.

Under the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, players are now able to have a portion of their salaries guaranteed in the final season of multi-year contracts. According to sources, Maier has 50 percent of his base salary guaranteed in 2024, which amounts to $105,600. Cornelius has 50 percent of his base salary guaranteed in 2024, which amounts to $100,000.

CFLPA president Solomon Elimimian addressed the significance of the fresh contracts in a memo to union membership, which was exclusively procured by 3DownNation.

During the 2022 collective bargaining, among the many positive changes to the current agreement, you ratified collective agreement language that allows guaranteed contracts for the first time in the CFL. We heard from you, our members, that having the certainty to play, grow and establish your brand in your respective communities was top of mind. We also heard from our tremendous fans that player continuity was essential to them.

We are proud to report that we have now seen guaranteed contracts registered with the CFL for this 2022 season and beyond. Not only does this bring comfort to the membership in terms of certainty in future years, but it also allows for more continuity for the teams. Just as importantly, the players will become a more significant part of the community, and with that, increased support from our great fans.

As you look to negotiate, or renegotiate your contract, do understand that this is a new opportunity for you. The clubs can and will include these clauses in the addendums to the standard player contracts.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our office or your player reps anytime.

The exact clause from the ratified collective bargaining agreement is as follows:

  • Effective for the 2023 season and continuing for the term of the collective agreement, Clubs will have the option of providing guaranteed contracts to the players and the League will register those contracts provided the following conditions are met.
  1. The contract would have to be subsequent to the first completed contract, i.e. for a National and Global, it would be after three (3) years with the Club, and for an American, it would be after two (2) years with the Club.
  2. The player would have to sign a subsequent contract with his original Club.
  3. The subsequent contract will be no less than two (2) years in duration.
  4. The guaranteed amount could be up to fifty per cent (50%) of the Paragraph 3 salary in the final year only of the subsequent contract.
  5. The guaranteed amount of the Paragraph 3 salary in the final year only will not apply in the event of death, retirement, placement on the suspended list, or in the event the Player signs an NFL contract.
  6. The guarantee in a new Standard Player Contract replaces any existing guarantee with the same Club.

The guaranteed money allows players certainty in future years while also allowing teams to keep roster continuity. This will help athletes to become entrenched in their respective communities and generate increased support from fans.

The new clause will also hold general managers accountable in decision-making. In the past, teams have been able to cut players after the first year regardless of the length of the contract without salary cap implications.

This new rule will make it more difficult to cut players in the middle of their contracts and create less roster turnover, which will benefit players, teams, fans, and the league overall.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.