The CFL’s 15 highest-paid quarterbacks for the 2024 season

Photo: Neil Noonan/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

3DownNation has undertaken a project to show fans the money for the 2024 CFL season.

Over the next week, our publication will be unveiling the three-down league’s highest-paid players from each position group. It starts with the most important position in football. Check back for the league’s top-earning running backs, receivers and on down the list as we work through all the position groups.

“Hard money” is a CFL term used to refer to any portion of a contract that is paid even if a player is hurt. That includes base salary and signing bonus among other stipulations within the paperwork.

Any additional components — often referred to as “playtime or performance incentives” — are outlined in part or in full in the paragraph accompanying each player. These bonuses can often be tied to how much a player sees the field, yardage production, touchdowns, being named an all-star, or winning a league award.

Please note “N” denotes national players and “A” denotes American players.

1) Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (A)

Hard money: $600,000
Maximum value: $600,000

The two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player collected a $300,000 off-season roster bonus on January 15 and makes the rest of his money for 2024 in the form of a $286,200 base salary and $13,800 in housing. The 35-year-old is currently in the second year of a three-year extension he signed partway through the 2022 season, which ties him to the Manitoba capital through 2025.

2) Chad Kelly, Toronto Argonauts (A)

Hard money: $583,000
Maximum value: $583,000

The league’s reigning MOP restructured his three-year contract in January, cashing a $300,000 signing bonus in the process. The rest of his money for 2024 is scheduled to be paid in the form of a $144,200 base salary, $100,000 in non-football-related services to the team, a $20,000 training allowance, $13,800 in housing, and a $5,000 training allowance.

3) Trevor Harris, Saskatchewan Roughriders (A)

Hard money: $473,000
Maximum value: $500,000

The soon-to-be 38-year-old collected a $250,000 signing bonus when he restructured his contract with the Riders this off-season. His 2024 deal includes a $189,500 base salary, $15,000 in non-football-relate services to the team, $13,500 in housing, $5,000 travel allowance, and an additional $1,500 each time he takes more than half Saskatchewan’s offensive snaps in a game.

4) McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Edmonton Elks (A)

Hard money: $461,000
Maximum value: $542,500

The two-time East Division all-star received a $150,000 signing bonus to join the Elks following a one-year stint in the United States Football League. He can earn a $25,000 bonus if he passes his physical at the start of training camp, a $7,500 bonus if he throws for 4,000 yards, a $5,000 bonus if he leads the league in passing yards, and a $5,000 bonus if he leads the league in touchdown passes.

5) Cody Fajardo, Montreal Alouettes (A)

Hard money: $432,000
Maximum value: $450,000

The 32-year-old signed a one-year contract extension through 2025 in December and reworked his agreement for the 2024 season in the process. He received a $175,000 signing bonus to go along with his $228,200 base salary, $13,800 in housing, $10,000 n non-football-relate services to the team, and a $5,000 travel allowance. He can earn an additional $18,000 in playtime with $1,000 per game for playing 51 percent or more of the offensive snaps.

6) Vernon Adams Jr., B.C. Lions (A)

Hard money: $403,800
Maximum value: $403,800

The 31-year-old set all-new career-highs this past season and cashed in with a three-year contract extension that included a $200,000 signing bonus. Adams Jr. can earn a $155,000 base salary, a $15,000 training bonus, $13,800 in housing, a $10,000 travel bonus, and $10,000 in non-football-related services to the team.

7) Jake Maier, Calgary Stampeders (A)

Hard money: $339,000
Maximum value: $380,000

The six-foot, 227-pound passer restructured his deal this off-season, cashing a $150,000 signing bonus in the process. He can earn $2,000 each time he plays more than half Calgary’s offensive snaps in a game, $13,800 in housing, $10,000 in non-football-related services, $5,000 in training, and $4,000 in travel.

8) Dru Brown, Ottawa Redblacks (A)

Hard money: $286,000
Maximum value: $340,000

The 27-year-old received a $137,500 signing bonus to ink a two-year extension with the Redblacks after he was traded to Ottawa from Winnipeg as a pending free agent. Brown can earn $50,000 after reporting to training camp and passing his physical, a $10,000 travel allowance, $13,800 in housing, and $3,000 each time he plays more than half the team’s offensive snaps.

9) Bo Levi Mitchell, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (A)

Hard money: $225,500
Maximum value: $361,500

The two-time MOP took a pay cut this off-season after earning over $500,000 in 2023 as the second-highest-paid player in the CFL. Mitchell got a $50,000 signing bonus to redo his deal and can earn a $4,000 bonus each time he plays more than half Hamilton’s offensive snaps in a regular season game. He could make $15,000 if he does so for five games, $17,000 if he does so for nine games, and $17,000 if he does so for 14 games.

10) Jeremiah Masoli, Ottawa Redblacks (A)

Hard money: $133,800
Maximum value: $236,800

The 35-year-old restructured his deal in January ahead of a $100,000 off-season roster bonus and received a $45,000 signing bonus as part of his new contract. He could earn $5,000 each time he plays more than half Ottawa’s offensive snaps in a regular season game. Masoli is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn Achilles, according to the most recent update from head coach Bob Dyce.

11) Chris Streveler, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (A)

Hard money: $120,000
Maximum value: $174,000

The fan favourite returned to Bomberland this off-season following a four-year stint in the NFL. He received a $36,200 signing bonus from Winnipeg and can collect $70,000 in base salary, $13,800 in housing money, and $3,000 each time he plays more than half of the team’s offensive snaps in a regular season game.

12) Mason Fine, Saskatchewan Roughriders (A)

Hard money: $113,000
Maximum value: $174,000

The University of North Texas standout got a $5,000 signing bonus to remain in Riderville. He can earn $10,000 in non-football-related services to the club, $5,000 the first time he plays one snap, $1,500 each time he plays more than half Saskatchewan’s offensive snaps in a regular season game, along with several smallere bonuses for reaching passing yardage and touchdown thresholds.

13) Jake Dolegala, B.C. Lions (A)

Hard money: $110,800
Maximum value: $172,800

The 27-year-old earned a $15,000 signing bonus when he joined the Lions in free agency along with $82,000 in base salary and $13,800 in housing. He can earn $3,055.55 each time he takes more than half B.C.’s offensive snaps in a regular season game along with $3,000 if he’s named a West Division all-star and $4,000 if he’s named a CFL all-star.

14) Matthew Shiltz, Calgary Stampeders (A)

Hard money: $107,500
Maximum value: $199,600

The six-year veteran earned an $8,000 signing bonus to join the Stamps in free agency following a two-year run in Hamilton. Shiltz can make $2,200 each time he plays more than half Calgary’s offensive snaps in a regular season game along with a $14,000 bonus if he does so at least 14 times and a $30,000 bonus if he does so at least 17 times.

15) Caleb Evans, Montreal Alouettes (A)

Hard money: $95,000
Maximum value: $233,500

The 25-year-old can collect $5,000 the first time he makes the active roster and $13,800 in housing. He has several playtime bonuses built into his deal, including $2,000 each time he takes more than half Montreal’s offensive snaps in a game, a $25,000 increase to his base salary if he’s the primary quarterback for 10 or more games, and a $30,000 bonus if he’s the primary quarterback for 15 or more games.

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