The Saskatchewan Roughriders will enrich quarterback Kerry Joseph to the tune of $350,000 this season.
That is more loot than the CFL team was prepared to relinquish for quarterback Henry Burris, who left Saskatchewan to sign with the Calgary Stampeders in February 2005.
"Well, it just showed what the truth was,'' Burris said Friday after arriving in Regina for today's game, to be played on Taylor Field. "It wasn't about money. It was funny that everybody said that.
"I just kept my mouth shut because the bottom line is what's going to happen is going to happen. I don't control that because I don't write contracts. The bottom line is whoever said, 'Hey, we want you,' let's go. That's why I'm in Calgary and, hey, I'm loving every bit of it.''
Burris -- not Joseph -- could have become the highest-paid player in Roughriders history.
After Burris bolted for Calgary, Roughriders general manager Roy Shivers told the Leader-Post's Darrell Davis that Smilin' Hank had been offered annual salaries of $301,000, $326,000 and $337,000. Burris disputed those figures.
Sans Burris, the 2005 Roughriders struggled with Nealon Greene and Marcus Crandell practising the fine art of (yawn) managing the game. Burris, meanwhile, was named the West Division's all-star quarterback.
Shivers took a bold step to address a glaring deficiency by trading up to claim Joseph first overall in an April 12 dispersal draft of orphaned Ottawa Renegades players. The Riders inherited Joseph's four-year, $1.4-million contract.
"Kerry was a great pickup for them,'' Burris said. "Definitely, Shiv voiced that he wanted Kerry, and Kerry fits the scheme of the offence here very well. He's also a great person on and off the field. He's a great Christian man, a guy who does a lot for his teammates. Plus, when he steps on the field he creates results, and that's what he has done for this team.''
So far this season, the results have been mixed for Joseph and Burris.
Although Calgary has a 2-1 record, Burris's play has been widely dissected by fans and media types. Saskatchewan's offence has been erratic in its first two games with Joseph behind centre.
There was a belated offensive awakening June 16, when Saskatchewan lost 45-28 to the host B.C. Lions. The Riders avenged that defeat nine days later, rallying for a 32-24 home-field conquest of B.C.
Joseph ignited the Riders' comeback by throwing fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Matt Dominguez and Jamel Richardson. The latter TD strike, a 49-yarder which put Saskatchewan ahead to stay, punctuated a 103-yard drive.
"You want it to carry over,'' Joseph said. "You want to learn from that. You take that mental picture of the things that we got accomplished. Now we just have to bring it out here this week and start the game like that and not wait until the third or fourth quarter to put those drives together.
"We know it's there. Now we just have to go out and execute it.''
More consistency is required -- especially with Burris in town.
Saskatchewan was 0-and-2 against the Burris-led Stampeders last season.
His celebrations rankled jilted members of the Rider Nation, but there was also an undercurrent of jealousy. After all, Calgary had a quarterback who could have made a difference for Saskatchewan.
The Riders now boast a player who is, in many ways, reminiscent of Burris.
Joseph and Burris are in their early 30s. They both command over $300,000 per annum. Both passers are being paid partly for potential, despite being veterans of the pro football wars.
The talent level is undeniable, but neither quarterback has reached the pinnacle. Burris came tantalizingly close to piloting Saskatchewan into the 2004 Grey Cup. Joseph has been a productive starter for three full CFL seasons, but has yet to reach the playoffs.
Comparisons between Burris and Joseph are inevitable -- but not necessarily justifiable, if you listen to the Riders pivot. He is not preparing for a Burris-versus-Joseph showdown, despite the vital role the quarterbacks play.
"I'm not on the field the same time that Henry's out there,'' Joseph said. "I'm not competing against him.''
But he will be judged against him.