For those of us south of the border, it’s rare to hear of the CFL, or Canadian Football League. Made originally as a merger of both a football and rugby football union, and now the counterpart to the National Football League in the United States, the league at the time of writing has only nine teams.
But despite their size as a league, many people are curious as to how the teams stack up against their bigger southern brothers in terms of salary and how easy it is to become a CFL player. Here, we answer both of those questions.
Average Salary for Canadian Football League Players in 2022 – $60,000 to $100,000 Per Season
The CFL is different from the NFL in that they do not publish their players’ salaries. With that said, the salary cap is available online. In 2021, the cap for each team was $5.3 million, which means that each player earned between $60,000 to $100,000 per season. At the end of the day, the exact amount depends on the player’s position and performance.
Take Kienan LaFrance of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, for example, he earned $80,000 in 2021. Keep in mind, however, that that’s only his base salary. He also earns an additional $500 every time he’s on the field. He also receives $1,000 if he’s involved in a certain amount of special team tackles by the end of the season.
Other CFL players that make around the same amount include William Powell, Ka’Deem Carey, Brendan Gillanders, and James Wilder Jr.
Who’s the CFL’s highest-paid player? As of 2022, this title goes to Zach Collaros, the quarterback of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. According to sources, he is scheduled to earn $550,000 this year—that’s more than a $125,000 raise from his 2021 salary. Not only that, but he also received a signing bonus of $87,000 for signing his name on the dotted line.
How to Become a CFL Player – Do you need to go to school?
To become a Canadian Football League player is much like how one becomes a player in the National Football League. First, one has to know the game and play it well. This usually requires one to pick up Football early, in middle school and through high school.
During this time, one needs to consistently perform in an excellent manner, preferably winning awards or going to title-winning schools. From there, one can go to University and play football or in rarer cases, go straight to the CFL Combine (though the collegiate play is encouraged, sometimes by the teams themselves. This gives players a chance to further refine their skills and have a good backup in case something happens to their fledgling career.
The Combine itself is a camp where players are evaluated and refined much like the NFL Combine and happens before any draft takes place. As a result of Canadian rules, there’s one major advantage one can have: If you’re a Canadian citizen, you’re more likely to get into the CFL. Due to previous years of importing players from other countries, now every major team has to fill citizen quotas, and if you’re in the territory of your desired team you happen to have even better odds.
That being said, exceptional international players can enter the Combine if they prove themselves to perform to a very high standard. Many of these international picks come from colleges in the United States as a secondary option to the NFL, as proximity and a former foray into the American football sphere had occurred creating a relationship between it and certain colleges across the country.
After the Combine, a selection called the Draft occurs. Often happening in May, a draft can select prominent players from their Combines as well as through a list of free agents which can cycle through teams as needed. After being selected in a draft, one can finally don the jersey and head out as a full-fledged member of the CFL, representing some of the best football that Canada has to offer.