The Canadian Football League draft takes place on Tuesday, but the league has a problem: Some of the best Canadian players aren’t interested.
That’s the word from Ed Hervey, G.M. of the defending Grey Cup champion Edmonton Eskimos. Hervey told the Edmonton Journal
that it’s tough to find Canadian talent at this time of year, while NFL
teams have 90-man rosters and the best football players are trying to
make an NFL team in September, not play for a Canadian team this summer.
“This is what’s most frustrating for me, when dealing with the
draft,” Hervey said. “Our pool of players is not as [deep]. There are
good players in this draft, but when our elite players are being taken
and given an opportunity – and I’ve said it before: personally, I don’t
think our players, the Canadian player, really wants to play in the CFL if given the opportunity to play in the NFL. And we’re kind of held hostage, to a point, waiting to see what happens and then it kind of throws off our draft.”
If you’re a player who has a chance to make an NFL roster, of course
you’d rather play in America: The NFL minimum salary of $450,000 dwarfs
the CFL minimum salary of about $40,000. Hervey thinks the CFL needs to
find a way to address issues with retaining Canadian talent, but for now
he knows that he might go looking for a player who instead chooses to
spend the summer in an NFL training camp.
“In the meantime, we have to play with the cards we’re dealt,” he
said. “We pick eighth, so we’ll wait to see where the landscape goes and
the best player on the board for us that fits what we need and want,
we’re going to take. That player does not necessarily need to be in
training camp right away.”
By the time NFL rosters are pared down from 90 to 53 players, the CFL
season is in full swing and it’s hard to incorporate newly available
players into a CFL roster. So there aren’t a lot of good answers for the
CFL, other than to field teams with whichever players are willing to
play north of the border.
(Pro Football Talk)