Lions will address Jennings extension; Braley hospitalized

There’s a time and place for everything but for Wally Buono and the B.C. Lions that sweet-spot moment wasn’t a Thursday morning breakfast gathering of corporate supporters marking the unofficial rebirth of another CFL season.

Indeed truth be told, top of mind for the Lions was the health of owner David Braley, who was scheduled to attend the Waterboys breakfast but instead was taken to hospital with a suspected bacterial infection, 3Downnation has learned. Braley has spent considerably more time in Vancouver since the club announced Dennis Skulsky will vacate his role as club president Apr. 1.

With that backdrop, there  was no update on a possible contract extension for quarterback Jon Jennings, but if you were to read past editions of their off-season playbook it wouldn’t all be surprising if something was announced the next time the club gathers its corporate believers just prior to the opening of training camp.

No less an authority than the Lions coach/GM said as much, tacitly admitting that though he brought on pressure himself to give Jennings a raise before becoming proven, he’ll do the right thing but only on his timetable.

The idea of even discussing a new Jennings deal in public is loathsome to the man calling the shots for the Lions but became an agenda item when the agent for the quarterback, Bardia Ghahremani, earlier this month inferred he would hold his client out of camp in the absence of a raise off his $55,000 rookie season deal.

Jennings (above) seemed far less combative when asked for his own take last month  and was much the same when approached again Thursday. “It’s definitely not the best thing you can have in the world but my agent will take care of it,” Jennings told CKWX.

Buono knew he’d have to juggle the books this winter the moment he got Travis Lulay to rework a new deal which will pay him a reported $225,000 plus play-time bonuses annually, down from $445,000 as a starter, not unlike what Henry Burris and Ottawa accomplished Thursday.

It’s just that the Lions would ideally like more time to rejig things for Jennings, which is a small underlying factor why the Lions don’t plan to bring their presumptive starter (or Lulay, for that matter) to the team’s three-day mini-camp slated for Apr. 27-29.

Bo Levi Mitchell didn’t hit the contract extension jackpot in Calgary until after he had led his team to a Grey Cup, reasoned Buono, who also invoked a similar scenario involving Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in his defence, if only for slightly more cash.

The Lions boss reckons he should be given more time than the six starts Jennings got last year to work things out lest he has to go to Lulay or the newest pivot for training camp, Keith Price, whose signing was affirmed this week.

“We’re going to address it because it needs to be addressed,” said Buono of Jennings. “But if every player I now deem to be a starter comes to renegotiate, I can’t do that. I have a cap. We have to let things evolve a little bit.”

But in a microwave society where teams like the Lions are being asked about who’ll play nickleback or defensive end even before going to camp, leaving a starter to play on backup salary despite having two more years on his current contract has to be addressed sooner than later. And so it shall, Buono said. Just not at breakfast.

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich

Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.
Lowell Ullrich
Lowell Ullrich
About Lowell Ullrich (179 Articles)
Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.

6 Comments on Lions will address Jennings extension; Braley hospitalized

  1. oceanvista // March 24, 2016 at 7:25 pm //

    So let me get this straight. Wally has no trouble going to Travis this off-season, scissors in hand, to give him a $220,000 haircut (not to mention jettisoning many a starter in the middle of their deal), but when the presumptive starter and new face of the franchise wants a raise from a $55K a year “Manager at Arby’s” salary, hold on here!!

    • It’s all about ‘What have you done lately’, unfortunately. Lulay’s a risky proposition now with his recent history of injury, so a high base salary doesn’t make sense for a team. The option likely would have been wishing him luck and sending him packing — and it would be a good question whether any other team would have offered something even close to BC’s restructured deal.

      Jennings may deserve a raise but he’s still got a lot to prove. I’d think a good bonus structure would cover his upside, with a not-too-big boost to his base salary if the team really wants to build something with him and ensure he stays happy.

  2. @O: just more bullshit by a player agent and player!! starter for 6 games only!! 6 GAMES 6 GAMES GET REAL!! pay cut vs. a raise? funny I thought they were different, not apples and apples but oranges and apples!!

    • I though it was 7 games but I totally agree with you. Going into this season teams will have figured him out better and I predict he will end up on his ass a lot more. I sometimes disagree with Wally and his seemingly mesozoic ways but support him on this one. You sign a contract you honour it, plain and simple. If this guy and his big mouth agent continue to be a distraction then it’s time to show both the door.

      • yes maybe it was 7 games!! hit the road jack and don’t let the door hit you in your arses on the way out of vancouver casey printers oh sorry excuse me it’s you jon jennings!! see ya, wouldn’t want to be you!!

  3. Best wishes and prayers for David Braley. Get well soon!

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