NFL Labor Dispute Benefiting the CFL/UFL

With the National Football League antitrust suit/lockout in full force, some NFL veteran free agents may consider heading north to play, showcasing their talents in the Canadian Football League.  However, veteran players need to be aware that CFL teams will not sign players who were under contract with NFL teams at the time the Collective Bargaining Agreement expired.  With a minimum two-year contract, players would have to spend the full two seasons in the CFL.  Hamilton Tiger-Cats General Manager Bob O’Billovich confirmed by stating, “Those kind of guys, you wonder if they know the situation. They might think they can come up here, play part of a season and then go back. They can’t.”

However, with the uncertainty around the upcoming NFL season, the CFL could benefit from unsigned/undrafted rookies looking to play professional football. Toronto Argonauts General Manager and coach Jim Barker: “Where we’ll see a difference is after the NFL draft. Undrafted players won’t be signed and a lot of them normally would try to sign with NFL teams. A borderline player who might have signed with an NFL team might decide to sign here so he can play. There should be a better pool to choose from, no doubt.”

The United Football League can also benefit from a locked-out NFL season.  The UFL feels that they are perfectly positioned to provide alternative pro football programming.  UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue said that “from an exposure standpoint, replacing the NFL on one or more Sundays would be more valuable” than signing NFL players and former NFL coaches such as new Hartford Colonials coach Jerry Glanville.  Commissioner Huyghue went on to say that “I think one of the (potential) revenue streams has to start hitting or it will be difficult to continue. I’d love for them (NFL) to get back … just not right away”