Muamba, Bombers hit stall in talks

May 27, 2011, 10:19 PM

Another of the countless ‘only in the CFL moments’ has hit just before training camp.

Henoc Muamba, the first-overall pick in the 2011 CFL draft, had come to terms on what his camp believed was a two-year deal, including an option, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday.

One hitch.

As per standard player contracts, a club option year is an addendum to the final year of the deal. So in actuality, what the player believed was a two-year deal is actually a three-year pact. Thus by Friday evening, what had originally thought to have been an agreement between Winnipeg and the St. Francis Xavier University linebacker, was no longer.

Only in the CFL.

The Blue Bombers are not at fault here. Their proposal was put together through standard protocol but it appears as if there was confusion on the other side regarding the option year.

The base salaries on the rookie contract offer, as initially reported, are $44,000 in the first season, $50,000 in the next. Muamba has the potential to make in excess of $60,000 in the third year, the option year, which the players’ camp had not been aware of, even though that is as common in an agreement as a signature required.

Muamba signing a two-year deal seemed somewhat peculiar. It is an unusual term for rookies, which usually sign three-year pacts throughout the CFL. The Stampeders last week locked up University of Ottawa quarterback Brad Sinopoli to a four-year agreement.

It was thought by getting a shorter contract, Muamba gave himself flexibility to either explore the NFL or get himself to unrestricted free agency sooner. It turns out there was confusion, however, on the terms of the basic player contract.

Presumably, it is back to the drawing board on contract negotiations. Winnipeg’s rookie camp starts next Tuesday.

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