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.