Total Financial Rewards — A CFLdb Razzle Document

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Update: This fictional estimate from 2013 is outdated and now serves only as a curious artifact from the past. It should not be used for present day comparisons as new CBAs and changing economic conditions have invalidated most of the information within.

Large corporations often present an annual statement to each employee, showing the total benefits and compensation they receive in a Total Financial Rewards statement. This presents in real numbers the total compensation an employee received in the previous year including base salary, bonuses, overtime, employer pension contributions, employer paid premiums to benefit plans and other gifts, rewards and subsidies (parking, gym membership, etc.). The purpose of such a statement is to make the employee aware of the cost of their full compensation package and hopefully help with employee retention and satisfaction.

Such a statement for a fictional CFL player (or players) may be beneficial to all seeking information on CFL compensation. After a little research into the benefits and other compensation available to CFL players, I have compiled a Total Financial Reward Statement for five fictional CFL player salary classes — practice roster, league minimum, league median, league average and league premium.

Sources and Information

Primary source for information in this document is the CBA. Further explanation can be found on each section below. As much as I attempted to be as accurate as possible, information should not be relied on and is presented for entertainment purposes only. Estimates, assumptions and guesses have been made in compiling this document.

Base contract and bonuses

Practice Roster

Practice roster player base pay is based on reports stating practice roster pay in the $500-$600 range (low figure calculated on $550 x 19 weeks) range up to the league minimum (of $45,000) or higher pay of a standard player contract. There is not enough reliable reporting to know how many practice roster players are paid on a weekly practice roster contract and how many are paid standard contract salaries. Nor is there enough information on reports of shared housing provided for practice roster players to include it anywhere in their compensation. Speculating, it is believed few receive less than the league minimum except project players who are usually non-imports, but there is no evidence to back this up.

League Minimum

Based on the 2013 league minimum of $45,000 (Article 9 of the CBA).

League Median

Based on reports of a league average of $60,000 during the 2010 CBA negotiations. I felt this best represented the median, or mid-point of salaries in the CFL.

League Average

Based on the 2013 salary cap of $4.4 million divided by 53 players (42 active roster, 4 reserve list, 7 practice roster). It does not take into account injuries, etc. The purpose of these salary classes was not for accuracy in the average, median, and premium values, but to compare the total compensation at these salary levels.

League Premium

Based on media reports what elite quarterbacks in the league earn in their prime. This is not a ceiling, as shown by the recent reports of a contract averaging $450,000 over two years.

Training Camp Meals

Based on $25/meal x 3 meals per day x 14 days. Amount of actual savings per player by having meals provided will vary. The CBA (Article 6.01.9) requires reasonable meals be provided for all players during the training camp period. Teams must provide accommodation to out of town players during training camp. Estimates for accommodation are not included in this total rewards statement.

Pre-season Pay

Based on the CBA (Article 11.01) requirement of $525/week to $725/week for pre-season pay for a minimum of 3 weeks.

Non-veteran Roster Payment

Based on the CBA (Article 6.01.08) requirement of a $300 payment to any non-veteran on the roster 48 hours after the end of training camp.


Based on the CBA Travel Allowance (Article 25) of $115/day of travel with reductions for team provided meals and half days of travel. Maximum based on $115 x 26 days of travel over 10 games.

Voluntary off-season workout per-diem

Based on $115/day per-diem for 3 day workout plus 2 travel days. Teams must provide all meals, accommodation and travel expense for players attending off-season workouts and these values are not included in this total rewards statement.

Semi-final bonus

Players occupying a roster spot for a division semi-final game (or first round bye for finishing first in their division) receive $3,400 per the CBA (Article 12).

Final bonus

Players occupying a roster spot for a division final game receive $3,600 per the CBA (Article 12).

Grey Cup bonus

Grey Cup runners up receive a $8,000 game cheque while the winners receive a $16,000 game cheque per the CBA (Article 12.02).


Basing the base contract and other pay received on an approximate six month term, the annualized salary extrapolates those earnings to a 12 month term.

Pension Plan

As defined in the CBA (Article 13), pension contributions for both parties (employer/employee or team/player) in 2013 is $3,600. The team’s full contribution is due to be paid to the pension plan in the player’s name within 28 days of the player’s 9th game on a team’s roster, injured or disabled list. The player’s contribution is deducted from the player’s cheque and paid to the pension plan in the player’s name over the first nine games the player receives a game cheque (1/9th of the $3,600 is deducted over the first 9 weeks the player is on a team’s roster, injured or disabled list). The player’s contribution is their’s upon deposit, the team’s contribution may also be vested (player entitled to receive employer contribution) immediately upon meeting the requirements of 9 games, but there is not enough information to state this factually.


Teams must provide two tickets to each player for each home game as per Article 34.02 of the CBA. The value of these tickets is calculated as $50 x 10 games x 2 = $1,000. Players are entitled to additional tickets at no more than 50% of the sales cost. Value of additional tickets is not included in this section.

Moving Expenses

Based on the CBA (Article 27) requirement providing moving expenses ranging from $1,000 to $7,000 for players whose contracts are assigned to another team (traded). The range varies dependent on the time of the transfer, number of games on roster and distance between moving locations. Not included in this amount is the value of economy return air fare for the player’s wife, which is available in some situations.


Insurance premiums are simple estimates of the premium cost for Group Medical, Group Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance paid by the Member Clubs for each player. The coverage amounts are defined in Article 16 of the CBA.

What is not included

This fictional Total Financial Rewards statement is missing the following information:

  • Government deductions. Normally a statement would include EI and CPP premiums paid by the employer. In this case that is unknown so has been excluded.
  • Taxes. A TFR statement represents the gross compensation and benefits paid so taxes are not listed. Figures do not represent after-tax income.
  • Other deductions such as Player Association dues. These are unknown and paid by the player and are not a part of the financial rewards.
  • Some amounts entitled to players were not estimated as noted in each section above.
  • Equipment provided to players or that players provide themselves is not accounted for.
  • For American players, the exchange rate is not mentioned. In recent history this has not been much of a factor, but can have a huge impact on the total rewards when converted to American dollars and the exchange rate is in the 70 to 80 cent range as it was during most of the 1990’s.

If you question any parts of this document and have sources to back your changes, please contact us so we may make adjustments to this document.

Thanks to our graphics designer who created the beautifully designed document presented here.

Download Total Financial Rewards Statement (PDF, 169 KB)


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Posted January 2013 (Updated January 2018)

Tags: compensation and player