Chris Williams eluded tacklers this past season. Now, he's trying to find a way out of his contract.
There's an interesting situation developing in Hamilton, with star Tiger-Cats' returner/receiver Chris Williams apparently looking for a way out of his contract. According to Drew Edwards, he may have found one. Williams signed a deal for two years plus a third year with a team option in 2011, and the Tiger-Cats obviously exercised that option given his success, keeping him around through the 2013 season. Williams is now saying that the Tiger-Cats didn't offer him the option of signing a minimum-term contract (one year plus a team option) in 2011, which would be a violation of the CFL's collective bargaining agreement and could potentially provide a way for him to get out of the last year of this current deal. From Edwards:
Multiple sources say the Ticats receiver and kick returner has asked the CFL player's association to investigate whether the team violated the terms of the collective bargaining agreement with hopes of having the final year of his contract with the club declared void.
At issue is a little-known provision within the league's CBA which stipulates that every player must be offered a minimum-term contract – one-year plus a team-held option – even if the club is offering as longer-term contract as well. Williams was signed to a three-year contract (two-year-plus-an-option) in May 2011 and is contending that he was not offered a minimum deal at the time.
Tiger-Cats' head coach/general manager Kent Austin (who was just hired this offseason; it would have been former GM Bob O'Billovich's administration who negotiated Williams' deal) told Edwards a concern has been raised by Williams and agent Dan Vertlieb, but the team hasn't received a formal complaint and still views Williams' contract as binding. Thus, if the league and/or the players' association don't elect to push things any further, it's quite possible Williams' contract won't be voided. (Whether he'll actually fulfil it is another matter; he could easily just sit out this season, but that might not help his NFL cause.) However, while Williams' claim may seem like an attempt to find a loophole, it actually brings up an important point, and it should be thoroughly considered.
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