Earlier this week the USFL held their inaugural draft, which saw all eight teams building out their rosters. In what should have been an exciting day for the players getting picked up, one player was blocked from joining the league.
In the 9th round, the New Orleans Breakers picked up cornerback Derrick Jones who most recently played for the CFL. During the event, we saw a good amount of former CFL players joining the USFL, with a select few playing as recently as last season. Jones was one of those players, and it turns out the Calgary Stampeders weren’t ready to let him go.
TSN’s Farhan Lalji reported yesterday that Jones’ being signed away from the CFL was an oversight and subsequently would be removed from the USFL.
The interesting part of this is that it seems that Derrick Jones learned of this, not from the CFL, but from Farhan’s Tweet. Jones then goes on to share screenshots of messages with Stampeders staff explaining that he wanted out of his contract to explore opportunities in the United States weeks before the draft.
@CFL@calstampeders It’s sad how y’all try treat athletes. I humbly made it clear that I wanted to weigh my options. Way before the @USFL draft. Is why I chose to enter the draft. I think It’s very unprofessional for y’all to ignore me until after the usfl draft. pic.twitter.com/wPStqaEAR6
It looks like Jones signed a CFL contract Feb 1st, but asked to be released just 11 days later. After messaging the Stampeders staff, he was never given a reply. That is, until he told them he was leaving for the USFL, at which point he was told that they “will be in touch after they speak with the league”.
Since then, no response from the CFL until after he was drafted by the USFL.
Clearly, this is a mess, and the CFL’s handling of the situation doesn’t make it any better. At the end of the day, moves like this will only make players more apprehensive about heading up north if they know they are stuck there and kept out of better opportunities.
Lalji does bring up a very interesting statistic as well, 55 of the players drafted to the USFL were on negotiations lists with the CFL.
One thing is for sure, Larry Fedora and the Breakers are out one pick. Luckily for them, the USFL is set to have a supplementary draft next month before training camp is set to begin.
What are your thoughts on how the CFL handled this situation? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.