It didn’t take Chris Williams long to land in the NFL.
The wide receiver, who negotiated his release from the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger Cats this week, has signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints, his agent said Thursday.
Dan Vertlieb, Williams’ Vancouver-based agent, told The Canadian Press that Williams is headed to New Orleans.
On Wednesday, Williams and the Ticats reached an agreement to allow CFL’s top special-teams player last year to pursue opportunities in the NFL.
Contract details weren’t immediately available, but the 25-year-old Williams stands to make much more than the $48,000 base salary he was scheduled to earn this season in Hamilton.
The NFL’s 2013 minimum salary is $405,000.
Under terms of the deal with Hamilton, should Williams return to the CFL either this season or next, it must be with the Ticats. However, given that Williams received multiple NFL offers moments after being free to entertain them, it’s doubtful he’ll be back in Canada anytime soon.
Neither the Ticats nor the CFL commented on the deal with the Saints on Thursday.
Williams, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, went to arbitration to be released from the final year of his deal with Hamilton to pursue NFL offers. In June, arbitrator E.E. Palmer ruled the Ticats violated the CFL’s collective bargaining agreement with the CFL Players’ Association by negotiating with an unregistered agent.
However, Palmer said the penalty for that was a fine, not the termination of the contract. The Ticats weren’t fined because the CFLPA didn’t ask that one be imposed.
Williams signed a deal with Hamilton in 2011 that was negotiated by an agent not registered with the CFLPA. He contended he wasn’t made fully aware of the conditions pertaining to his rookie contract and that Hamilton didn’t offer him the one-year plus an option deal, but rather just the two-year plus an option.
It’s doubtful Williams will immediately crack New Orleans’ strong active roster. The Saints (4-0) are deep at receiver and tight end, and boast one of the NFL’s top kick returners in Darren Sproles.