Top 5 CFL Free Agents Who Could Help the New York Jets

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Top 5 CFL Free Agents Who Could Help the New York Jets
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Garrett McIntyre played for two seasons in the Canadian Football League before signing with the Jets.

Should the New York Jets’ efforts to get more salary cap space fall short, there is a source of free-agent professional talent whose low salaries make the NFL’s minimum wages sound princely. It’s the Canadian Football League.

Per the CFL CBA, each CFL team’s 2013 cap is $4.4 million. That’s about $200,000 more than Jets’ linebacker Bart Scott’s 2012 base salary. (Currency exchange rates at this article's publication date are roughly at par.)

Minimum annual salaries in the CFL will be $45,000 in 2013. An NFL rookie will earn $405.000.

This is no surprise to the Jets. They’ve shopped the CFL before.

Outside linebacker Garrett McIntyre joined the Jets in 2011. From 2009 to 2010, McIntyre played as a defensive lineman with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

In 2012, McIntyre consumed $470,000 of the Jets' salary cap. That would have been over 10% of Hamilton’s cap. With the Jets, McIntyre’s compensation used less than 0.5%.

And the Jets are not alone.

Miami running back Marcus Thigpen played two seasons for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before making his NFL debut in 2012.

New England is signing two free agents from the CFL: Toronto Argonauts’ defensive end Armond Armstead and Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ defensive end and linebacker Jason Vega.

CFL players reputedly are undersized by NFL standards. However, the faster pace of the CFL game, with its 20-second play clock, emphasis on passing and three downs to advance 10 yards instead of four, makes its players ideal prospects for teams looking to quicken their games. Plus, the CFL’s 18-game schedule, colder climates and coast-to-coast travel make it an endurance test as well.

Even if the Jets don’t need bargains, they should continue scouting the CFL.

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