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How the CFL Coaches Cap affects the Riders and other questions

Published: Friday, Dec 7th 2018, 3:12am

by: Greg McCulloch (@GregOnSports)

The Brass Tacks

After months of much guessing at what the CFL’s non-player salary cap (aka Coaches Cap) was going to look like the CFL finally laid out the details.

  • The cap is set at a hard $2,588,000 for the next 2 seasons.
  • Staff is capped at 11 Coaches and 14 operations staff
  • Trainers and Doctors are exempt from this due to player safety
  • Fines like the players Salary Management System is dollar for dollar up to $100,000
  • Above that are higher penalties and draft picks
  • This includes all salary and all bonuses, including housing, health benefits, car, and performance.
  • Exceptions to business expenses, complimentary tickets, and meals while working.


The Rider Rule

The Riders, especially under the leadership of Chris Jones, has had an ever-ballooning operational staff. Since the Riders make some of the highest profits in the league, the franchise feels they can then spend it to give them every advantage to turn the team into a perennial winner.

Fans of other teams see this as a good thing to keep all teams on an even playing field. Meanwhile Rider fans are remembering the days when wealthy owners were paying players like Doug Flutie out of their own pockets with personal service contracts.

However, the Riders have accepted this cap better than the fans. The Riders released a half a dozen operational last month in preparation for this cap, and announced that everyone, including Chris Jones, would be taking a 10% pay cut.

But John Murphy must have missed that memo but when he was asked to take the cut, much like he expected Darian Durant and Zach Collaros to do, he had a change of heart.

Like Weston Dressler and John Chick before him, he thought the Riders should honour the conditions set out in the final year of his contract, so he and the team parted ways.

If the irony was any more delicious, I would have had seconds.


Making the numbers work

From a numbers point of view, it would be interesting to see how these new contracts will be structured. Like players contracts, bonuses on housing and vehicles are taxed differently than the actual salary, allows the team to get more bang for their buck against the cap and allow the player/coach to take more home.

What hasn’t been discussed what will happen to a person let go mid-contract? In the past coaching and management contracts have been guaranteed and teams had to pay the duration of the contracts.

Paul LaPolice on the Blue Bombers is a perfect example of a head coach who signed a 3-year extension only to be relieved of his job midseason. Winnipeg was on the hook for the next 3 years to pay him out while he was on TSN double dipping. Then in the most Winnipeg thing ever, they hire him as their Offensive Coordinator once he is a free agent again.


Got the answers, now the questions change

So now that the CFL laid this out for the world to see there are still many questions left to be answered.

Will those remaining years be attributed to the cap, or even a portion of them?

Will we see all operational staff sign 1-year deals annually just to keep the books simple?

Why are health benefits apart of this deal?

How long till someone seriously brings up a “Management Union”?

How long till the Riders are accused of skirting the rules?

Will this be Randy Ambrosie’s legacy?

But the most important question…

When is the CBA going to get done?


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