Chad Kelly Nov 20, 2022; Regina, Saskatchewan, CAN; Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly (12) celebrates the victory at the end of the game. The Toronto Argonauts defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to win the 2022 Grey Cup Championship at Mosaic Stadium. Toronto won 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

There have been plenty of people weighing in on new No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick Caitlin Clark’s CBA-mandated rookie salary. But one of the most unexpected comments there came from Canadian Football League quarterback Chad Kelly Monday.

Kelly is also known for his college career at Clemson, East Mississippi Community College (of Last Chance U fame), and Ole Miss, for a “Mr. Irrelevant” selection in the 2017 NFL Draft (after he wasn’t invited to the combine), for brief NFL stints with the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts, and for his famed uncle Jim. He’s been playing in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts since 2022, won the Grey Cup that year (as a backup to McLeod Bethel-Thompson), and won the league’s Most Outstanding Player award last season.

But Kelly is currently under league investigation and facing a civil lawsuit for alleged sexual harassment of a team assistant strength and conditioning coach. And he’s been quite quiet on social media since those allegations came out in February, posting a few lyrics and not much more. On Monday, though, Kelly weighed in on a tweet from former NFL player and current Bussin’ With The Boys co-host Will Compton on Clark’s WNBA salary.

In terms of the accuracy of Kelly’s commentary here, $76,535 annually is actually more than the lowest CFL salaries ($70,000 Canadian, or around $50,600 USD at the moment). But it’s significantly less than many veteran players make, especially quarterbacks. And Kelly is currently the league’s highest-paid player, signing a three-year, $1.865 million CAD deal (albeit with a NFL out clause) last September, so he gets more than $620,000 CAD (so around $450,000 USD) annually at the moment. He also could get more still from various bonuses and from revenue sharing, which kicks in this year.

Discussions of Clark’s salary alone miss the point, though. On3’s database has her 11 known deals (which are largely expected to continue to the WNBA) at a value of $3.1 million annually, which is likely much more than even a top-paid CFL player like Kelly is making in salary plus endorsements. And there’s plenty of potential for Clark and the WNBA to rise further, with media deals up after the 2025 season and the potential for the union to opt out of the current CBA at that same point.

At any rate, it’s not clear if Kelly was specifically criticizing Clark and/or the WNBA, or criticizing the CFL, or just sharing that the WNBA entry salary is somewhat similar to some of the lower CFL salaries (but not his). But his tweet here drew a lot of backlash, including from people referencing the ongoing investigation into his alleged harassment and from people referencing how much he makes:

Weighing in here was certainly an interesting decision from Kelly. And it came with a lot of blowback for him.

[Chad Kelly on Twitter/X]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.