another good article

Tiger-Cats finally collect on their sizeable October down payment
If you don’t look beyond Edmonton’s city limits, there is nothing wrong with this two-part swap
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Jason Maas asked to be traded at the end of the season after a humiliating Eskimos loss to the Ticats on Sept. 30.
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Font: * * * * Dan Barnes, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Saturday, December 03, 2005
Close your eyes, drink enough Kool-Aid and you’ll find nothing at all unpalatable about the Jason Maas trade.

In fact, diehard Eskimo fans not terribly concerned about the greater good of the Canadian Football League should be thrilled with a deal that unfolded slowly enough to accomodate Edmonton’s march to the Grey Cup, even if the pacing of the thing was so obviously at the expense of almost every other franchise in the Western Conference.

Some of us, however, will find the whole affair relatively difficult to swallow.

For the record, it’s now Maas, Tay Cody, Brock Ralph, a first-round pick and a sixth-round pick in the 2006 college draft to Hamilton for Danny McManus, Tim Bakker, Troy Davis, Dan Comiskey, Imokhai Atogwe, the first overall pick in 2006 and, for all intents and purposes, Joe Montford. He was swapped for Comiskey at the beginning of this season, but now both are in Edmonton.

Back in early October, Cody, Ralph and Edmonton’s first-round pick were shipped to Hamilton for Comiskey and Davis in what was a highly suspicious move that reeked of unfinished business involving Maas. The Ticats addressed none of their myriad needs with the one-sided swap, but the Eskimos immediately re-attached the wheels that had been falling off for weeks, low-lighted by a humiliating loss to the Tabbies at Ivor Wynne Stadium on Sept. 30.

But anyone with a working knowledge of the Crazy Football League knew then and there that the Ticats had placed a sizeable down payment on Maas and were sure to collect, trade deadline be damned.

When the other turf shoe finally dropped and Maas became Hamilton’s de facto starting quarterback, it was naturally regarded as the consummation of that secret set of future considerations. After all, this Tiger-Cat had been out of the bag for weeks, despite Edmonton’s protestations to the contrary.

“There’s nothing hidden for the time being,” was how head coach Danny Maciocia put it when the first half of the deal was announced Oct. 5.

Pressed on the topic, he tried to sound more definitive. “There’s nothing with Jason Maas, period.”

Right. Nudge, nudge. So it’s mere coincidence that Toronto football writer Perry Lefko got the goods on the second half of the deal on Nov. 15. He missed only the Atogwe-for-a-sixth-rounder part of it, which looks like a throw-in element anyway. If the trade wasn’t actually conceived until Thursday, as the Eskimos suggest, we should all get Lefko to recommend a few lottery numbers for next week’s drawing.

In fact, Maas went to the Eskimos brass in the days following that debacle in Hamilton and told them he needed to move along at the end of this season. Despite the fact the Eskimos were folded, spindled and mutilated by the worst team in the CFL that night, Ricky Ray had stayed in the game and Maas remained stapled to the sidelines.

“After that night was when I came to the realization I needed to play,” Maas said Friday.

He also told his employers the only other place he wanted to play was Hamilton, a fact that could have reduced Edmonton’s leverage. Instead, they played it coyly enough to leave the impression the second half of this deal was contingent on them harvesting exactly what they needed in the first half. The desperate Ticats agreed.
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Tiger-Cats finally collect on their sizeable October down payment
If you don't look beyond Edmonton's city limits, there is nothing wrong with this two-part swap
Article Tools
Printer friendly
E-mail
Font: * * * * Dan Barnes, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Saturday, December 03, 2005
The wheels were set in motion, all right, and on Edmonton's timeline. Maas was left on the Eskimo roster long enough to come off the bench and win both the Western Semifinal and Western Final.

Eskimo brass on Friday denied that the Maas trade was the future considerations element tied to the Oct. 5 deal.

"Well, it wasn't," said chief operating officer Rick LeLacheur. "What we agreed to was we'd talk after the season."

Hamilton GM Rob Katz only wanted to talk about Maas, as he had many times during the season. LeLacheur said Katz called Monday, they talked players Wednesday and the deal was consummated Thursday. Strangely enough, Katz announced the trade to Hamilton Spectator reporters Thursday while the Eskimos waited a day to make it official.

LeLacheur's version of events has the backing of the CFL.

"It has been determined that the trade announced today was not part of any future considerations arrangement from the October 5th transaction between the two clubs, and that both Edmonton and Hamilton have complied with league policies pertaining to player transfers," the league said in a statement.

None of the other franchises have put up much of a fuss either, so the issue is officially dead. The Tabbies have their man, the Eskimos have their Grey Cup and Maas has a new two-year contract worth $300,000 per season and the chance to start.

If you don't look beyond the Edmonton city limits, there is nothing wrong with this trade. But the CFL does not begin and end here and this deal will only serve to convince the less influential and successful franchises that the Eskimos wield too much power.

dbarnes@thejournal.canwest.com