Not too soon: Riders extension for Chris Jones strikes the right balance

It’s been about a week since the Saskatchewan Roughriders added another year to Chris Jones’ contract as the head of all things football.

I wasn’t really planning on chiming in on this since 3DownNation’s Darrell Davis has already suggested that it was a good move and I agreed with him, so there wasn’t really much point in doubling up. However, our Ryan Ballantine got me thinking about the deal and I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with him (something that’s allowed around here). This deal isn’t too soon, the timing is right. The length is right and it shows that president and CEO Craig Reynolds may have learned something from his former boss Jim Hopson.

We’ll start with the timing. While I have no doubt that Jones and company would do the best job they can on the final year of their deals, it’s still more advantageous to have a general manager and head coach (in this case the same person) locked up for more than one season ahead of free agency and the draft. It not only means a little more security (relatively speaking) for the recruiters, but it also tells the potential players that there will be a program in place here for more than one season (in theory, anyway). What Jim Popp and Marc Trestman were able to do this season on short notice is the exception, not the rule.

There’s also an advantage for Reynolds here. If you leave Jones unsigned next season and say things go really well, then it’s either going to cost more to re-sign him or worse, they could suddenly be scrambling to fill four positions should someone else pony up to get Jones. They’re probably also looking for a whole new staff as Jones’ guys seem to follow him around. That’s less than ideal from the team’s perspective. Getting Jones signed gives them the upper hand.

As for the deal itself, extending this relationship by just one year shows the team has some belief in what Jones is doing but also leaves flexibility should things go sideways. It more or less boils down to this: the Riders have to improve again this season or there could be people looking for jobs next season. It’s certainly not a formality that the team will be better in 2018 and Reynolds has left the door open a crack, just in case.

The one-year pact also shows that Reynolds has perhaps learned something from the man who held the job before him. Just before the 2014 season both general manager Brendan Taman and head coach Corey Chamblin were handed two and three-year extensions after winning the Grey Cup in 2013. They had also worked together for just two seasons before that. Those deals would have just expired, and we all know what happened. Instead of going all-in on Jones, Reynolds decided to give him more time but didn’t guarantee him a paycheque for the next four years. He’s going to have to earn that.

If things go wrong and the Riders have to eat one year of an expensive deal, so be it. In a salary cap world, rich teams will find other ways to take advantage of the money at their disposal. If things go well, then Jones will be set to get another extension in 12 months. There’s nothing to lose at this point.

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.
Joel Gasson
Joel Gasson
About Joel Gasson (179 Articles)
Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.

14 Comments on Not too soon: Riders extension for Chris Jones strikes the right balance

  1. Joel Gasson with the voice of reason. Nice column, sound and logical arguments

  2. Ryan Ballantine is a clown!

  3. BigRedMachine // December 18, 2017 at 11:36 am //

    Agree with Joel on this one. You could quibble at Jone’s price tag but I have zero idea what other coaches/gms make in the league so it is hard to make judgement. It would be nice to have a civil discussion on it though…

  4. In Jones we Trust.

  5. Well, Chris Jones is being well paid, to be sure. That said, he appears to be getting results. Why is it, I wonder, that we know ALL about Chris Jones’ salary but not what other coaches and gm’s are making? (I don’t really wonder…the Roughriders’ organization seems to be very polarizing engendering strong feelings on both sides and very little middle ground.)

    • The real reason to why you all know Chris jones salary is because everyone needs to know how much the sliders have to OVER PAY everyone in order to come play or coach here in sliderville and that’s the true answer to your question.

  6. Glenn Chernick // December 18, 2017 at 1:11 pm //

    Joel is bang on with h his commentd

  7. Greatstamps // December 18, 2017 at 2:22 pm //

    I just question how a 1 year extension promotes a stable organization

    • justforkicks // December 18, 2017 at 2:48 pm //

      Because he still has one year of the original it is in essence two years thus the stability.

    • Jeff Garcia's Agent // December 18, 2017 at 4:31 pm //

      Because instead of having a lame duck coach and GM in 2018, they have him for 2 years at a minimum now. That means he doesn’t have to press because he’s trying to earn an extension. He can stay the course knowing the team he builds in 2018 won’t be handed to someone else in 2019. It also doesn’t financially commit the Riders further than they need to and all the coaches/front office personnel are on the same contract now.

  8. I don’t thonk he’s overpaid. He has a lot of titles and to echo Scottsask above: In Jones We Trust.
    $750,000 Canadian is less thank $600,000 US. If you think a quality coach and GM combo is with less than that look what a top CEO earns. This is a solid salary, not overpaid.

    On another note. I’ve notice more multiplication questions to post comments. And I’haven’t noticed a single comment from Donkey today. Coincidence?… I think not.

  9. Well the net income for the Riders isn’t that great & with coaches incomes spiralling (thank you Riders) as evidenced by Trestman’s deal post-Jones expect the players to demand more money in a year when the collective bargaining agreement expires. I expect the CAP to go up as the players can see where most of the money is going. A similar spike happened with QB salaries. Taman paid Durant 500K so guys like Reilly & Collaros cashed in. Now even the lesser starters are getting 400K + (thank you Riders). The players will want & deserve a bigger piece of the pie. Hard to claim you’re poor when the head coaches now are getting more than the top line players &, in some cases, have more coaches on the sideline than players on the field (hello Riders). True Green, in the rich NFL, Belichick does not get paid more than Brady. The top players get way more than the coaches. Ultimately I don’t care how good a coach you are. If your QB stinks, even if the rest of your team is solid, you’re unlikely to go far. Jones is overpaid. He doesn’t have to do most of the work as VP Football Operations with 2 Assts in Football Ops. Ultimately on the field he’s the DC.

  10. Like Ryan said in his article paying Jones this huge salary for finishing no higher than 4th place is crazy now the sliders are the true Cleveland browns of the CFL

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