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CFL opens door, partially, for players to sign with NFL teams


Derek Leung

The CFL stubbornly has insisted on two-year contracts with no chance to go to the NFL after the first season. The North-of-the-Border league finally has softened its stance. A little.

According to Dave Naylor of TSN, CFL teams have voted to reinstate the so-called “NFL window,” allowing certain players to work out for NFL teams and sign contracts that would become effective at the end of a given CFL season. Earlier this year, CFL teams voted against the change.

The provision applies only to players entering the final year of their contracts -- and it applies only to contracts signed after August 20, 2018.

This means that it won’t affect Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Johnny Manziel, who signed a firm two-year deal earlier this year. And it won’t be relevant to any player who signs after August 20, 2018 until 2019, at the earliest.

But it’s an indication of a potential thawing of the Canadian league’s stubborn insistence on two-year deals without exception, and it could potentially, eventually lead to one-year contracts or perhaps a clear NFL out clause after one of two seasons.

If it ever happens, it won’t be due to the CFL suddenly choosing to be charitable; with a pair of spring leagues coming, non-NFL players soon will have other options. And since those other leagues likely will make it easier to go to the NFL if the NFL is interested, the CFL may have no choice but to do the same.