2018 CFL season

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2018 CFL season
Regular season
Duration June 14, 2018 – November 3, 2018
Start date November 11, 2018
106th Grey Cup
Date November 25, 2018
Site The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
2017  CFL seasons  2019

The 2018 CFL season will be the 65th season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it is the 61st season of the league. Edmonton is scheduled to host the 106th Grey Cup on November 25, 2018.[1] The CFL announced that this season will move to a 21-week regular season (previously a 20-week season) to increase player rest time and reduce short turnaround-times for games.[2] Given this change, the regular season will start on June 14, 2018, one week earlier than usual, and will conclude on November 3, 2018.[3]

CFL News in 2018

Salary cap

According to the new collective bargaining agreement, the 2018 salary cap will be set at $5,200,000. As per the agreement, the cap is fixed and will not vary with league revenue performance. The minimum team salary will be set at $4,600,000 with individual minimum salaries set at $54,000. This will be the last season under the current CBA with this deal expiring May 15, 2019 or the first day of the 2019 training camp, whichever comes first.[4]

Free agency

The 2018 free agency period will begin on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 12pm EST.[5] All players eligible for free agency are unrestricted free agents, as is customary in the league.

CFL Week

Following the success of the week-long league and prospect showcase in March 2017, the league announced on September 9, 2017 that Mark's CFL Week would return and would be hosted by Winnipeg.[6] The event will take place from Thursday March 22 to Sunday March 25, 2018, highlighted by the CFL National Combine for players eligible for the 2018 CFL Draft which will be held at the RBC Convention Centre.[7] Similar to last year's installment, over 50 current players will attend for fan engagement and media photo shoots. The 2018 Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductees will be announced during a gala and the CFL Rules and Competition Committee meetings will also be held.


On September 13, 2017, the league announced that the 2018 season would have a 21-week regular season schedule rather than the 20-week schedule used from 2004 to 2005 and 2014 to 2017 when the league had nine teams.[2] This will be the longest, in terms of calendar days, that a CFL season has ever been. In this model, there will be 18 four-game weeks and three three-game weeks. Every team will have three bye weeks, up from the previous eight teams with two bye weeks and one team with three (while playing two games in one week). This change was also a probable result of the backlash received for the 2017 Ottawa Redblacks season schedule that saw the team play 17 games over the first 17 weeks and have their byes in weeks 18 and 20.[8][9] Ottawa also had to play three games in 11 days as did the Toronto Argonauts, due to the five-game week in week 5.[10]

On December 14, 2017, the CFL released the 2018 season schedule, which was almost two months earlier than in years past.[11] The season opening game will be hosted on June 14 by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the first time they have hosted that game since the 2014 season. The Grey Cup rematch, hosted by the Argonauts, will take place in week 2, which is the first time since 2013 that it wasn't featured in week 1. The three-game weeks will take place in weeks 5, 9, and 14 as three teams will have byes during those weeks.

There are four triple headers, all occurring on Saturdays and after the Labour Day Classic games, presumably to avoid playing games on Sundays and interfering with TSN's broadcast of National Football League games.[12] There are also 11 double headers this year, with one on a Thursday, three on Fridays, five on Saturdays, and two on Mondays (the traditional Labour Day and Thanksgiving contests). Other than the two Holiday Monday games, all games this season are played between Thursday and Sunday. This will be the fourth straight season to showcase Thursday Night Football with 10 of the first 11 weeks featuring Thursday night games, with every team hosting at least once.[13] For the first time since 2014, there are not only all intra-divisional games in the last week of the regular season, but those games are also featured in the last three weeks of the regular season (which also occurred in 2014). There are nine home-and-home series, with the Argonauts playing the most, with four. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have a delayed home-and-home series with the Saskatchewan Roughriders as both teams have a bye during week 5 (in which case, the Tiger-Cats also have four such series).

Front office changes

Team 2017 GM 2018 GM
BC Lions Wally Buono Ed Hervey

On November 30, 2017, the BC Lions announced that Wally Buono would step aside from his duties as general manager to be replaced by Ed Hervey. Hervey had been the general manager of the Edmonton Eskimos from 2013 though 2016, winning the 103rd Grey Cup in 2015. Buono will remain as the Lions' head coach.[14]

Coaching changes

Team 2017 HC 2017 interim HC 2018 HC
Hamilton Tiger-Cats Kent Austin June Jones
Montreal Alouettes Jacques Chapdelaine Kavis Reed Mike Sherman

On December 4, 2017, the Tiger-Cats announced that they would be bringing back 2017 interim head coach June Jones on a permanent basis.[15] Junes took over from Kent Austin after the Ti-Cats started the 2017 season 0-8, and under Jones' leadership the team won six of their remaining 10 games.

Kavis Reed, the interim head coach for Montreal, explicitly refused to accept any permanent appointment to the position (he lost all seven games as head coach) but will remain on staff as general manager.[16] Reed conducted the search for the team's new head cach following the 2017 season. On December 20, 2017, the Montreal Alouettes announced that they would be hiring former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman as the club's 23rd head coach.[17]

Negotiation lists

In late January 2018 CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie announced that teams would be required to make public the names of 10 of the 45 players on their negotiation lists twice per year; once in February and once in December. Since the CFL doesn't have a draft for American (or international) players the negotiation list is the only way a team can obtain the elusive rights to an athlete. The decision to go public was supported by the league's presidents, governors and general managers.[18] On February 20, 2018 all nine CFL teams announced 10 players on their negotiation list.[19]


  1. ^ "CFL awards 106th Grey Cup presented by Shaw to City of Edmonton". cfl.ca. June 5, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "CFL, CFLPA work together to deliver significant advances to player safety". cfl.ca. September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  3. ^ "CFL's 2018 season to start June 14". tsn.ca. December 14, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 
  4. ^ "New five-year CBA ratified by CFL and CFLPA". cfl.ca. June 13, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Official 2018 Free agent tracker". cfl.ca. Retrieved December 3, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Mark's CFL Week coming to Winnipeg". cfl.ca. September 9, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Winnipeg to host CFL promotional extravaganza". Winnipeg Free Press. September 9, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Ottawa Redblacks miffed about 2017 schedule". Ottawa Sun. February 7, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Did the Ottawa Redblacks get screwed on the 2017 schedule by the CFL? Let's check the data". National Post. February 7, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017. 
  10. ^ 2017 CFL schedule
  11. ^ "Player safety: CFL schedule stretched over additional week to increase rest". 3downnation.com. December 14, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 
  12. ^ 2018 CFL schedule
  13. ^ "Just in time for the holidays: The 2018 CFL schedule". press.cfl.ca. December 14, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Lions name Hervey as GM; Buono to coach - Article - TSN". TSN. 2017-11-30. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  15. ^ "Tiger-Cats take interim tag off Jones - Article - TSN". TSN. 2017-12-04. Retrieved 2017-12-05. 
  16. ^ GM Kavis Reed intensifies search for Alouettes' next head coach
  17. ^ "Alouettes name Mike Sherman new head coach". cfl.ca. 2017-12-20. Retrieved 2017-12-23. 
  18. ^ "CFL to partially lift veil on negotiation lists - Article - TSN". TSN. 2018-01-26. Retrieved 2018-02-21. 
  19. ^ "CFL teams release partial negotiation lists - Article - TSN". TSN. 2018-02-20. Retrieved 2018-02-21. 
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