The CFL’s 15 highest-paid running backs and fullbacks for the 2024 season

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Who said running backs don’t deserve to get paid? Between running the ball, catching passes out of the backfield, helping in pass protection, and contributing on special teams, running backs and fullbacks are arguably the most versatile players in football.

Over the next week, 3DownNation will be unveiling the CFL’s highest-paid players from each position group. On Tuesday, we looked at the quarterbacks. Check back on Thursday for the receivers.

“Hard money” is a CFL term that refers to any portion of a contract that is paid even if a player is hurt. This includes base salary, signing bonuses, roster bonuses, housing allowances, travel allowances, and training allowances. Marketing money, which is officially called “non-football-related services,” isn’t always guaranteed, though we’ve decided to include it in hard money for this series.

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 are often tied to how much a player sees the field, produces yardage, scores a touchdown, makes tackles, or whether or not they’re named an all-star.

“N” denotes National players (ie. Canadians) and “A” denotes American players.

1) RB Brady Oliveira, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (N)

Hard money: $230,000
Maximum value: $230,000

The league’s reigning Most Outstanding Canadian garnered even more lucrative offers from other teams in free agency but elected to stay with his hometown club, receiving a $100,000 signing bonus to ink a two-year extension. Oliveira will also earn $80,000 in salary and $50,000 in non-football-related services to the team in 2024.

2) RB A.J. Ouellette, Saskatchewan Roughriders (A)

Hard money: $160,500
Maximum value: $165,500

The 28-year-old was named an East Division all-star for the second straight year in 2023 after recording the first 1,000-yard season of his career. He got a $35,000 signing bonus to move to Riderville in free agency and will also make $15,000 in non-football-related services to the team, $13,500 in housing money, and a $2,000 travel allowance.

3) RB Javon Leake, Edmonton Elks (A)

Hard money: $122,000
Maximum value: $133,000

The CFL’s reigning Most Outstanding Special Teams Player earned a $20,000 signing bonus to join Edmonton in free agency following a sensational year with the Argonauts. He will also collect $13,800 in housing money, $3,000 in non-football-related services to the team, and $3,000 if he repeats as a year-end league award winner this season.

Photo: Timothy Matwey/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

4) RB Kevin Brown, Edmonton Elks (A)

Hard money: $118,000
Maximum value: $131,500

The 27-year-old native of Mount Pleasant, S.C. will earn a $7,500 bonus if he reaches the 1,000-yard mark this season, a milestone he surpassed for the first time this past year when he ran for 1,141 yards and four touchdowns. Brown also has $6,000 of all-star and awards incentives written into his deal.

5) FB David Mackie, B.C. Lions (N)

Hard money: $117,500
Maximum value: $131,000

The former second-round pick is entering the second year of a contract extension he signed last off-season, which included a $10,000 roster bonus on Feb. 1, 2024. He will also earn $8,000 in non-football-related services to the team and an extra $416.66 each time he plays more than half of the club’s offensive snaps in a game.

6) RB Jeshrun Antwi, Montreal Alouettes (N)

Hard money: $115,000
Maximum value: $130,000

The former sixth-round draft pick earned a $20,000 signing bonus to stay in La Belle Province after helping the Alouettes win last year’s Grey Cup. Antwi will also receive $13,800 in housing, $5,000 in non-football-related services, a $2,000 training allowance, and $500 each time he plays more than half of Montreal’s offensive snaps in a game.

7) RB Devonte Williams, Ottawa Redblacks (A)

Hard money: $115,000
Maximum value: $122,000

The 27-year-old received a $20,000 signing bonus to stay in the nation’s capital following his first career 1,000-yard season, though he’s unlikely to play this season after tearing his Achilles. He will also earn $13,800 in housing money, $5,000 in non-football-related services to the team, and a $2,500 travel allowance.

8) RB Dedrick Mills, Calgary Stampeders (A)

Hard money: $108,300
Maximum value: $123,500

The native of Waycross, Ga. beat out Ka’Deem Carey for the starting job last season and was rewarded with an extension that included a $15,000 signing bonus. He will also make $3,800 the first time he takes an offensive snap, $7,500 in non-football-related services, and $300 each time he takes more than half of Calgary’s offensive snaps in a game.

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

9) RB James Butler, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (A)

Hard money: $107,800
Maximum value: $115,200

The five-foot-nine, 210-pound ball-carrier rushed for 1,000 yards last season, becoming the first Hamilton running back to do so since DeAndra Cobb in 2010. He will earn $13,800 in housing money, $5,000 in non-football-related services to the team, $2,000 in travel money, and $2,000 if he leads the league in rushing yards this year.

10) FB Marco Dubois, Ottawa Redblacks (N)

Hard money: $105,000
Maximum value: $123,500

The five-year veteran will earn a $10,000 bonus when he reports to training camp and passes his physical as well as $5,000 in non-football-related services. Dubois will also make $500 if he leads the Redblacks in special teams tackles, $1,000 if he leads the East Division in special teams tackles, and $2,000 if he leads the CFL in special teams tackles.

11) FB Tanner Green, Edmonton Elks (N)

Hard money: $103,000
Maximum value: $119,000

The five-year veteran is a key player on Edmonton’s special teams units and it shows as the club paid him a $10,000 signing bonus as part of his most recent extension. He will also earn $3,000 in non-football-related services to the team this year as well as $555.56 each time he takes more than half of the team’s offensive snaps in a game.

12) RB Daniel Adeboboye, Toronto Argonauts (N)

Hard money: $100,000
Maximum value: $120,500

The former second-round pick received a $10,000 signing bonus to extend his stay with his hometown team through 2025. Adeboboye will also receive $13,800 in housing money, $5,000 in non-football-related services to the club, and $555.55 each time he plays more than half the team’s offensive snaps in a game.

13) FB Alexandre Gagné, Montreal Alouettes (N)

Hard money: $100,000
Maximum value: $122,500

The six-year veteran remains one of the top special teams tacklers in the CFL, notching 16 last season. He earned a $5,000 off-season roster bonus on Jan. 15 and will make $10,000 in non-football-related services to the team, $3,000 when he reports to training camp and passes his physical, and $1,000 if he leads the East Division in special teams tackles.

14) RB William Stanback, B.C. Lions (A)

Hard money: $99,800
Maximum value: $125,800

The 29-year-old received a $10,000 signing bonus to move out west following a five-year run with the Montreal Alouettes. He will also earn $5,000 the first time he makes the active roster, a $5,000 travel allowance, and $388.88 each time he plays more than half of B.C.’s offensive snaps in a game. His new deal was negotiated by agent Darren Wilson.

15) RB Ante Milanovic-Litre, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (N)

Hard money: $97,800
Maximum value: $117,300

The Vancouver native collected an $8,500 signing bonus to move to Steeltown following a one-year stint in Ottawa. The Simon Fraser product will also earn $13,800 in housing money, $3,000 in non-football-related services, a $2,500 travel allowance, and $750 each time he plays more than half of the club’s offensive snaps in a regular season game.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.