Saturday, February 7, 2015

Jordan Lynch to Play for Edmonton Eskimos in Canadian Football League


Jordan Lynch was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos in the West Division of the Canadian Football League. The CFL starts much earlier than the NFL, so it won't be too long before we'll see if Lynch makes the squad and is the first string starter.

The Edmonton Eskimos have a winning program and have won the Grey Cup (Canada's Super Bowl) 13 times. They are a community owned team (think Packers).  Their colors are gold and green.

There are many NFL players who began their professional careers across the border in Canada.  Some players stayed and did pretty well, but the money in recent years has fallen well short of the NFL rates.  Canada does not lack enthusiasm for football, it lacks population to fill the seats the way they fill down south in the United States. On the other hand, a starter in Canada is going to play 18 regular season games.  Some young developing players might prefer the work rather than warming the bench in the United States. The CFL offers a competitive entertaining brand of football. 

In the early days of the CFL,  many players from the U.S. were attracted with lucrative salary deals, but most recently, the maximum salary for a top CFL player was $400,000.  The top 100 quarterbacks in the NFL all make over $400,000.  So if you were looking at the dollars and sense of it, the NFL would be a better situation for almost all quarterbacks.

Canadian sports TV channels TSN (English) and RDS (French) have renewed their agreement with the Canadian Football League and the price has at least doubled over the previous contract.  The new agreement is thought to be worth at least $30 million and some believe it may be much higher.

At the same time, the Canadian Football League and its players' association struck a new collective bargaining agreement last year. The CFL has 9 teams and it has been tough sledding for many to continue.  The extra TV funds are welcome and needed, but how much the league can afford to share with players is difficult to say, but the minimum salary has pushed up to $50,000 and other provisions make it at least marginally more attractive to play in Canada.  But big TV revenues made things work for the NFL, so it's likely to make things more manageable.  

In Canada, the entire team salary cap is $5,000,000.  That's the annual salary of a very good Bears' lineman.  Although the salaries only improve marginally, at least the teams will be on firmer financial footing. 

For Lynch, the Edmonton Eskimos gives him a chance to use his wide open quarterback skills that he perfected at Northern Illinois University.  And down the road, it can give him another shot at the NFL if that's where he'd like to go.   For now, let's wish him great success!

ESPN has exclusive U.S. rights to Canadian Football League Games.  In 2014, they featured three Edmonton games.  They should find a good audience in Chicago! 

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Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of the Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships