Negotiation lists reveal rare Canadian connections

When the CFL revealed the 90 names from neg lists across the league, there were four were players with Canadian backgrounds.

Teams rarely use negotiation list spots on nationals so when a player with Canadian citizenship appears it’s usually because the team feels strongly about their ability to contribute in the CFL.

Let’s have a look at the four players with Canuck connections.

Brett Rypien, QB, Lions

The son of Tim Rypien a Blue Jays draft pick and nephew of two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Mark Rypien – both born in Calgary – earned the Boise State starting job as a freshman. He’s been the No. 1 quarterback for the Broncos since that first season, going 30-10 and throwing for 9,876 yards and 60 touchdowns. If Rypien wants his national CFL status it’s easily obtainable.

Nathan Sheperd, DL, Ticats

The six-foot-five, 300-pound defender made 38 tackles, 12.5 for loss and four sacks, earning him Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Defensive Player of the Year and NCAA Division III All-American honours. That earned him a trip to the Senior Bowl where he impressed NFL scout before breaking his hand, despite the injury Shepherd boosted his draft stock at the NFL combine.

Felix Menard-Briere, K/P, Bombers

Menard-Briere was a two-time All-Canadian punter at the USports level drafted in the fourth round, 34th overall in the 2017 CFL draft by Winnipeg. He’s a national kicker with a big leg capable of handling all three duties. The Bombers had him at training camp in 2017 and ensure he’ll be their property by stashing Menard-Briere on the neg list.

Adam Zaruba, REC/FB, Riders

Zaruba worked out for the Eagles in July and attended training camp in Philly last year. He was released among final cuts and signed again by the Super Bowl champions in January. The 24-year-old, six-foot-five and 265-pounder is viewed as a tight end for the NFL game. Zaruba played football in high school and was recruited by SFU but never took the field before turning his attention to rugby, starring for Canada’s national sevens rugby team.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (931 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

8 Comments on Negotiation lists reveal rare Canadian connections

  1. Some more explanation on some of these cases would be nice Dunk! First, in case there happen to be some Americans reading this, in general our system is designed to handle Canadians/Nationals through the draft, and Americans/Internationals through the negotiation list [neg. list] system, but in some special cases Canadians can end up on the neg. list.

    Rypien is on the list because he’s not yet a Canadian. He qualifies to become a Canadian, and generally at that point he would enter the next Canadian draft, but I’m guessing that if he was already the property of a team when he became a Canadian he would remain the property of that team. And the reason why that might happen is because of the different rules that currently apply to QBs, where the N/I rules currently don’t apply.

    Shepherd is on this list because he quit football, then went undrafted in his draft year, and then decided to play football again. Ordinarily if a player goes undrafted he becomes a FA, but I’m guessing that in very unusual cases like this because he’s still in school he becomes neg. list eligible?

    Zaruba did not play university football, so I’m guessing that’s how he ends up being neg. list eligible.

    Menard-Briere is the most difficult one for me to understand. When a player gets drafted but doesn’t make the team, but still has some school eligibility left, typically he can go back to school and the team retains his rights for the next year. For some reason in this case that is not the case, but I have no idea why.

    • Just for clarification, in Rypien’s case when I say “if he was already the property of a team” I mean if he was already under contract to a team. Typically a player would become Canadian before signing a contract in the CFL, but with the current rules for QBs it doesn’t matter one way or the other.

  2. Edward Leslie // March 19, 2018 at 10:55 am //

    RFD: Unlike the NHL, if a player is cut in training camp, the teams DON’T retain their rights.
    In most cases the players go back for a 5th year of university eligibility and return for another try with the team that drafted them. It’s almost like some secret colusion not poach the other team picks that don’t
    stick, but there’s nothing written in stone.
    Calgary drafted a defensive lineman a few years back named Ameet Pall with their first round pick, but he didn’t make the team. He was claimed by Montreal, and he went there rather than take a practice roster spot for $500 a week with the Stamps. He never became more than a special teams player, so it wasn’t a huge loss.
    Winnipeg obviously had no room for Menard-Briere because of having Justin Medlock. Putting him on the Neg list was a creative way of shielding hos rights.

    • White Horse // March 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm //

      Good post Edward Leslie…I often wondered what happened to A Pall and how Huff who is so draft savvy, would pick a total bust for a first pick. Obviously Pall had very little interest in playing pro ball but I would think that Huff would have smelled that!!

  3. Edward Leslie // March 19, 2018 at 11:02 am //

    It would be nice if Randy Ambrosie make that cjange regarding Canadian Q.B.s. He’s hinted at doing it, but nothing so far.
    I think they shoukd get rid of the separate designation for “Quarterbacks of any nationality”, which ends up meaning AMERICAN.
    Just make it 22 Canadians and 22 Americans.
    At the very least, if the Canadian QB plays, he should count as one of the seven national starters.
    If they make the change before May’s draft, Rypien will be removed from B.C.’s Neg list and be draft eligible. He might get drafted in the first three rounds too.

  4. I like the option of counting the QB if he becomes a starter, and counting him as one of the 7 as well.

    Remember that Rypien would also have to go through the process of becoming a Canadian citizen as well.

  5. I think this all supports The Argos GM Popp who said the Neg list just keeps people out of the league. This is an archaic unnecessary system. The cap prevents bidding wars. These neg list guys are for the most part pie in teh sky wish lists and most won’t bother to have their agent contact the CFL team that “owns” them. Then what happens is the rare guy on the neg list that actually wants to play here is insulted with a 50-60k CAD take it or leave it offer. These are guys with a few years experience in the NFL and the minimum take it or leave it deal is not only an insult to the player but to the NFL. IN essence CFL teams are saying experience in the NFL counts for nothing. This is when the CFL is saying out of the other side of its mouth the CFL talent level is almost as high or equal to the NFL. Which is it? Are the leagues equal or is the NFL inferior such that 2 years there counts for nothing. The way to do this is to scrap the neg list. Replace with a 10 round NCAA draft that would force sensible small college choices. Then the occasional Power conference star that want to come up here is a free agent and the team with the most need and cap space would sign. It won’t be at NFL salary levels because the cap would prevent that. It would be reasonable amount to get the guy in the CFL.

    • Yawn. I’m sure Popp never said that, and pretty much none of the rest of that is true either. If you want to talk about the neg. list you should start by learning how it actually works.

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