The Montreal Alouettes will have wide receiver Jamel Richardson in the lineup next season.
Richardson, who led the Canadian Football League with 16 touchdown receptions this past season, has signed a new four year deal with the club, turning down an offer from the Minnesota Vikings.
"It was going to take a big offer to get him out of Montreal," Richardson's agent Paul Sheehy told the Montreal Gazette prior to the confirmation of the new three year deal with an option. "We weren't willing to do an opportunity-only deal.
"Minnesota's offer wasn't opportunity-only, but it wasn't enough to roll the dice. Jamel has a great situation in Montreal."
While Richardson would likely have earned the minimum salary for an NFL rookie, $310,000, the Vikings were not offering enough of a signing bonus to tip the scales in their favour. Seattle, San Francisco and Tampa Bay were also interested in Richardson.
"Montreal's the best situation for my family," Richardson told the newspaper. "Anything can happen in the NFL. One day the coach dislikes you. There are no guarantees. In Montreal, there are more guarantees. I like the system and the city."
''We are excited that Jamel has decided to forgo the NFL and stay with the Alouettes,'' Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said in a statement. ''He has become an instant impact player for us and throughout the CFL. We are looking forward to him bringing many more years of excitement to the city of Montreal.''
Richardson joined the Alouettes last March after four seasons in Regina. He finished the year as Montreal's leading receiver with 1,287 yards which trailed only Ken-Yon Rambo, Geroy Simon and Kamau Peterson.
While Richardson is returning, Alouettes rush-end Jermaine McElveen is testing the NFL waters, having worked out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week.
Meanwhile, Edmonton reciever Kelly Campbell and B.C. linebacker Jamall Johnson have both taken advantage of the opportunity to opt out of their CFL deals in their option year, signing with the Buccaneers.