Toronto Argonauts face CBA issue with receiver T.J. Jones

TJ Jones #13 of the Detroit Lions runs with the ball during a football game Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
TJ Jones #13 of the Detroit Lions runs with the ball during a football game Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Argonauts and T.J. Jones cannot put pen to paper on a new deal in part because of wording in the current CFL collective bargaining agreement.

There were a lot of contracts announced by the Toronto Argonauts when free agency began but one still remains on hold weeks after an agreement was reached on Feb. 11.

T.J. Jones signed a reported $200,000 deal with the Argos in part because the Winnipeg native was a rare NFL talent that would also be a ratio breaker on offence. Now the team and player remain in a wait and see approach because of language in the CFL collective bargaining agreement.

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According to the CBA, Jones is a rookie and is only permitted to make $80,000 on a three-year deal. The issue at hand of course, is that the 27-year-old wouldn’t qualify for rookie awards because of how many games he’s played in the NFL according to Dan Ralph of the Canadian Press. 

In 45 career NFL games, Jones made 67 catches for 852 yards (12.7-yard average) with five TDs and had a prominent NCAA career where he made 181 receptions for 2,429 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Obviously this leaves the Argos potentially without their biggest offensive acquisition considering they allowed Armanti Edwards, S.J. Green and Derel Walker (who is still unsigned) to move on.

According to Jones’ agent, the problem isn’t something he hopes will continue to be an issue as they try to find a solution.

"“This new rookie grid is meant for Canadians going through the draft and straight into the CFL,” Rob Fry said about the contract issue. “I understand why they put that in place.”“It really comes close to mimicking the way the NFL is set up with its rookie contracts. They (CFL) have set a rookie scale and a minimum term just like the NFL does. It’s just missed a piece of language that needs to get fixed. This has been going on for a while now so I really hope it can get fixed within the next week here.”"

So what this comes down to is the CFLPA trying to figure out a solution because Jones is waiting to find out if his deal will be honoured. Considering he wants to play up in his native country shouldn’t be taken for granted and if this problem isn’t resolved, it will probably lead to other Canadians with NFL deciding to remain south of the border.

This situation will be something to monitor going forward because the CFL has thrived on attracting players who want a chance to revive their careers. Of course, every player should have to earn that right but in Jones’ case, the Argos deemed him worthy of a big payday.

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What do you think about this contract situation involving Jones? Will this be rectified before camp opens? Let us know in the comments below.