Dickenson and Cahoon stamps in '07?

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Ted Hellard wouldn't say it. Nor would Tom Higgins until pressured to take a stand he littered with qualifiers.

"Right now Henry Burris is our number one quarterback until such a time we see a better option," said the Stamps head coach and senior v.p. of football operations yesterday in typically beige fashion.

"Maybe we have to bring in someone to split time with him."

Hardly a ringing endorsement for a 31-year-old quarterback the organization hung its hat on the last two years -- until Sunday, that is.

Rational or not, the hot debate inside and outside the organization following the club's latest playoff choke revolves around whether Burris is the best man to lead the Calgary Stampeders back to glory.

In the wake of his four-interception, one-fumble performance in Sunday's 30-21 West semifinal loss to Saskatchewan, the bulk of Stamps fans say no.

After all, it's not the first time his penchant for pickoffs has abruptly ended the Stamps' season.

The emotion of Sunday's upset has many willing to forget Burris was the star of the 2004 West final, led the league in passing touchdowns, is a popular leader in the room and has athletic ability only one or two CFL pivots can match.

However, detractors need only to point to his league-high 18 interceptions and six picks in his last two West semifinal performances to suggest he may never stop coughing up all over himself, so to speak.

"Who is to say when you give up on someone?" asked Higgins, unsure if he'll even be asked back.

"What's to say the third or fourth year can't be the charm? He's gifted -- we need to be patient at times."

Does this ownership feel it has that sort of time before it starts losing season-ticket holders?

Fact is, perhaps the only quarterback who gives the Stamps a better chance to win -- and might be available -- is Dave Dickenson.

Depending on how the 33-year-old former Stamp finishes the season in B.C., Wally Buono may choose to keep young Buck Pierce over a $400,000, injury-prone Dickenson next year.

If so, Dickenson's first choice via trade (or free agency, if he's released) would be to return to Cowtown where he has a home and wants to finish his career. The Stamps might just be willing to make that deal if Buono's asking price isn't too high.

Otherwise, no other available quarterback comes with the experience, arm and running ability as Burris, who said he's more determined than ever to be a better quarterback by working all winter on his speed.

However, as he told the Sun after the game, team president Hellard refused to confirm Burris will be back for the reminder of his $350,000 annual deal that still has two years and an option remaining.

"I think it's a healthy debate -- it's a natural fire point for people to go to," said Hellard of Burris' fate.

"I also don't think anybody in this room believes quarterbacking is the sole reason we lost."

While that may be true, fans saw Burris' five turnovers, then saw red.

Make that green.

"I don't think judging it on one game is fair," said backup QB Danny McManus.

"Over the 18 games, I thought he had a great year. He put the team in a position to win a lot of games ... Believe me, around the league people definitely want his services if they ever come available."

They won't anytime soon.

It's too bad no one has the guts to say it yet.

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One of the flashiest free agents to slip into Red and White may have performed his last endzone dance as a Calgary Stampeder.

High-priced slotback Jeremaine Copeland, who for the first time in four years failed to post 1,000 yards in receptions, might be the victim of the salary cap and a sub-par season.

He could be replaced by reliable Montreal Alouettes slotback Ben Cahoon, who becomes a free agent Feb. 16 and earns a similar salary.

"I hope I'm still in the plans for the future, although I really don't know," said Copeland, who had 54 catches for 978 yards and six touchdowns in 2006.

"There's a salary cap coming up (in 2007) and there are a lot of guys who might have to take a pay cut or whatever but I'd be happy to renegotiate so that I can stay here. That's the best thing for me right now and I'm looking forward to that and hopefully it won't go another way."

A source said the Stampeders approached Montreal earlier this season about acquiring Cahoon, 34.

He has more than 9,000 career yards in nine seasons with the Als, including five successive 1,000-yard campaigns. The Brigham Young product is apparently interested in playing in Calgary, where he can be closer to his home in Utah.

Copeland caught three balls for 63 yards Sunday in a 30-21 West semifinal loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He has another year plus a team option on his contract and said he is due a bonus in January if the Stamps choose to keep him.

Copeland was at odds this season with head coach Tom Higgins over choreographed TD dances.

Yesterday Higgins made it clear the team needs more production out of the offence and personnel changes are inevitable.

"The team will be different," Higgins said of 2007.

"Hopefully we'll have a couple of more playmakers in it.

"We'll have to see if they're actually in the locker-room (now) but we're definitely going to put some other players out for training camp and see if they can compete and win a roster spot for themselves."

speculations... in your dreams!

why would you wanna bring in an old injury prone dave dickenson, ben cahoon would be a good add to the stamps tho.

Not if you can't get em the ball when it matters.

Anybody really think the Als will let Cahoon go?

I doubt Popp will let Cahoon go, especially considering how much the rest of our receiving corps sucks.

But I'd be happy if my Als took Copeland off your hands. He played best in an Alouettes uniform, and maybe a few years of never getting beyond the western semifinal have given him some perspective.

Regardless, the off season will prove to be exciting for free agents.

Lions have offered BUCKY PIERCE a 3 year contract deal

Dawna is dun in BC

Who are some of the other "Big-Name" free agents from other teams?

Word on the street is both players mentioned
in this thread would be interested in playing in Calgary.

Cahoon being a free agent will be alot easier to get then DD. Wally wouldnt just want to give him
to Calgary.

I would only take Dickenson on my team, if the price was right. Much like Eric Lindros, he has a tonne of unrealized potential due to his many injuries. The odds of him completing a season, from start to finish, especially now that he is getting up there in age, is slim to none.

However, for a reduced salary, and with a competent backup, Dickenson can still win a few games for a team.

Cahoon is a local hero in Montreal. Elsewhere, he would just be "that good football player we just signed". Last time he was a free agent, he stayed because of it. He's the only guy I know in the whole league whose name is screamed by the crowd every single time he makes a catch, no matter if it's an important one or not.

He would miss that elsewhere.

Add Marc Boerighter to your list of potentials. Word is he is coming back to the CFL next season and he stated this morning he has already fielded calls from several teams.

Boerichter has said he wants to play for BC. About the only player the Lions would want off Calgary is their kicker and maybe their best non-import O-lineman for Dickey...

Is it just me or does a B.C. or a Toronto fan come up and claim every player who comes available wants to go there.

....um, yeah pretty much....and I somehow don't see us giving up DeAngelis and McNeil for DD....

The rumor is that Cahoon wants to play in southern Alberta to be close to family in Utah! But yes I doubt the Als will not go after him themselves. But sometimes these guys put family first! I guess we will see.

In Toronto's case, it's because they can't actually develop players themselves. They have to throw money at free agents and price themselves out of the small-market range.

John Avery -- originally in Edmonton
Ricky Williams - nuff said
Arland Bruce -- offered more money than the Bombers could afford
Keith Stokes - ditto

Any team that pays both Stokes and Levingston just to return kicks doesn't know how to develop their own talent.

Cahoon's no dummy, im sure he sees Calgary has
already started making cap space for top free
agents.

And if it makes him feel at home, I'll continue
the Cahoooon chant tradition. LOL