James Wilder Jr. opts to sit out CFL season in effort to get out of Canada

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The son of former NFL running back James Wilder has made it in the CFL, to the point where the NFL is interested. But the CFL won’t let him out of his contract to explore NFL opportunities. So James Wilder Jr. says he will be sitting out for the entire 2018 CFL season.

“I am announcing that I’ve decided to sit out the CFL season in order to train and work in the United States in order to better provide for my family,” Wilder said in a statement posted by the CFL’s official website. “It’s a decision I’ve prayed on while speaking at length with the people closest to me, including my mentors. I wish it could be different. I don’t want to put my football dreams aside but as the father of four, playing for $56,000 Canadian (about $45,0000 USD) without any protection from career-ending injury isn’t enough to give my family comfort.”

Named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie after generating a combined 1,405 yards for the Argonauts, who won the Grey Cup. Wilder Jr. said in the statement that he has drawn interest from “several NFL teams,” but that the Argonauts won’t allow him to pursue those opportunities, or to provide him with a new contract.

As explained by the CFL’s official website, if Wilder doesn’t show up and if the Argonauts don’t release him, he’d likely land on the suspended list, and he would then be eligible for free agency in 2019.

Wilder spent portions of 2014 and 2015 with the Bengals, but he never was signed to the regular-season roster. His most recent chance in the NFL ended with an early-September release by the Bills in 2016. Later that year, he had a workout with the Packers.

33 responses to “James Wilder Jr. opts to sit out CFL season in effort to get out of Canada

  1. That’s a pretty shortsighted and selfish move by the CFL. There are a lot of players that go to the CFL with the hopes of going to the NFL. If they are going to play hardball like that there are a lot of players that will refuse to sign long term contracts with CFL teams as a result.

  2. The kid has his priorities in line, unlike most of the US players that go up north. Its too bad that there is so little $ in the CFL to pay players so they can make a decent living because it is a competitive playing field and fun game. Hockey rules Canada …..

  3. In a nutshell, these 2 takes show why nothing can get done in this country.

    LOL.

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    elyasm says:
    January 25, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    That’s a pretty shortsighted and selfish move by the CFL. There are a lot of players that go to the CFL with the hopes of going to the NFL. If they are going to play hardball like that there are a lot of players that will refuse to sign long term contracts with CFL teams as a result.

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    chefninerapologist says:
    January 25, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    The CFL gives you an opportunity when no one else would and this is how you repay them?
    Well done selfish arrogant millennial.

  4. Let’s see here. No one wanted to give me job except Toronto who took a flyer on me. Now I repay them by refusing to show up for work and not honor my legal contract which I could have negotiated as yearly deals. Good luck to Wilder if he gets cuts during NFL training camp and tries to return to Canada.

  5. “In order to better provide for my family, I have decided not to work this year.” Man I wish I had talked to this guy 10 years ago, apparently I have been doing it all wrong

  6. The strange thing is he is a father of 4 children, and with little hope of a NFL career, what was he thinking taken on that responsibility? Most players get the money first, then plan on having kids. Bill

  7. elyasm – i’m not sure exactly everything that played into this situation, but maybe don’t sign a long term contract if you don’t have any intention of staying long term? There are LOTS of CFL players who get temporarily released by their teams during the CFL season to pursue opportunities in NFL camps and try to make a roster. Then if / when they get cut from the NFL roster, they re-join their CFL club and continue. So again, i’m not exactly sure how those clauses work in the CFL contracts but lots of players do it every year, leading me to believe Wilder Jr must have signed a different kind of deal. Something seems weird about that.

  8. “If you can’t feed four kids on $45,000 a year, how are you going to feed them on $0?”
    ______

    And maybe if you have no idea if / how you’ll be able to provide for a family in the future, maybe stop having a new kid every year?

  9. You signed a contract. Without the CFL, you wouldn’t have gotten to show off your skills. Next time, only sign a one year deal?

  10. If he gets signed by an NFL team couldn’t they just buy out Wilder’s contract? I’m sure if the juice was worth the squeeze 45k would be a drop in the bucket.

  11. I wonder how much semi-pro would pay him? Oh wait, CFL is semi-pro, isn’t it? LOL

    While I get he signed a contract, putting your body through torture for that is not very bright. Supply & demand, XFL will change the way CFL handles entry contracts.

  12. its beyond evil to deny a man an opportunity because thats what is in your best interest, and also maybe not have four kids when you’re not financially ready for them.

  13. I’m sure NFL teams will be beating down his door in 2019, the league highly values RBs and will be especially excited to add one who’s never managed to crack a 53 man roster in 3 attempts. Especially those who have shown they’ll put themselves above the team and their contracts. You need talent and leverage to get away with that move. He’s going to sit out the year, be forgotten and the NFL will move on to a bunch of new RBs who have flooded the market.

    By sitting out 2018, he’s pretty much saying that he won’t play again until the XFL comes back in 2020.

  14. i, flounder says:
    January 25, 2018 at 4:42 pm
    its beyond evil to deny a man an opportunity because thats what is in your best interest, and also maybe not have four kids when you’re not financially ready for them.

    0 1 Rate This
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    By this rationale shouldn’t NFL teams release each of their backups that could start on a different team and make more money? After all they’re denying opportunity for their own best interests.

    He shouldn’t have signed a 2 year contract if he didn’t want to honour it. Or at the very least his agent should have known that the CFL changed their policy a couple of years ago, and that his client should have gone with a year to year deal.

  15. For some reason, people think it’s ok to judge him for his decision making.. News flash, it’s not your life, it’s not your decision. That isn’t enough money to raise four kids, so why play for that when the only reason you’re in the CFL is to get a better opportunity in the NFL. Some bozo on here is telling him to honor his contract. Dude, this is the sports business, the shelf life is short, when you outperform your contract, the smartest thing to do is to get more money so your family should be ensured. Sports is a selfish business, athletes have to understand that.

  16. I request that all of the people trashing this guy look up the NFL min contract value and compare that to the amount he said he makes for the CFL.

    It’s very odd situation because the CFL is usually cool about letting players move up to the NFL. They even try to sell themselves as a means to get a player showcased for the big show. It’s odd timing because I think their season is over the summer when the NFL has it’s off season programs.

  17. There’s been some speculation up here that the CFL may need to reintroduce a sort of NFL window for players under contract… which apparently they did have, prior to the last CBA?

    The other option would be to offer to renegotiate his contract: offer Wilder more money, in keeping with the kind of elite player he is up here. But it seems like the Argonauts GM has contract issues with several key players, not just Wilder.

    Really an unfortunate development for such a feel-good story in Toronto. And with the XFL now planning to relaunch, not a good look for other promising players considering their options, down the road.

    Be curious to see if there’s any momentum to change CFL contract regulations, from the new commissioner.

  18. The standard CFL player contract that players sign when they come into the league is TWO YEARS, so its not something he negotiated. The two year thing is done so if a guy is successful, he cant immediately do what Wilder is trying to do.

    Not really sure what he hopes to accomplish. If he signed with the CFL straight out of school, as some players do, then teams would be much more inclined to give him a real shot in camp and some guaranteed money.But he spent three years kicking around camps before coming to Canada, playing the position which likely has the greatest surplus of supply over demand.

  19. The CFL is a bush league at best, but this guy refuses to take any responsibility for where he is in life.

    He’s a loser, just like the CFL.

  20. As a Bills fan, I can remember Wilder here in camp from a year ago. To be completely fair to him, he had a VERY good camp and would have had a real shot at making the roster here most other years. However, the Bills already had Mccoy as the starter. They had Mike Gillislee emerging and a rookie named Johnathan Williams they wernt going to cut. So Wilder was a victim of the numbers game.

    Itd be fun to see him back in Buffalo for camp this year

  21. red says:
    January 25, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Did I read this right? He is 25 with FOUR kids?
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Why is this a problem? He chose not to be a crazy partier like most of us were in our 20s and he got started on his family.

  22. Anyone who has a problem with this man betting on himself is the “afraid of failure” type. The guy has nothing to lose. Pull this off and make a minimum of 10x your current salary, fail and you’re in the same exact situation.

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