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Winnipeg Free Press

SportsGoodspeed, Canada could test free-agent market
Sat Jan 19 2008

By Ed Tait

ALMOST a month still remains to get their names on new contracts, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are now expecting to head into free agency with two of their stars available to the highest bidder.

GM Brendan Taman said Friday he hopes to step up negotiations with all-star tackle Dan Goodspeed and defensive end Tom Canada before the Feb. 15 deadline, but his gut is telling him the two starters want to dip their toes in the free-agent waters.

"To assume they both will be back is not what I'm feeling right now," said Taman. "We'll still try to get them signed, but the vibe I have is they'll both want to test (the market)."

Goodspeed, a CFL all-star and the runner-up to B.C. Lions Rob Murphy as the league's top lineman, is said to want Murphy money -- in the neighbourhood of $140,000.

"With Dan, we've talked and I told them we'd get back to them by the end of the month. I don't foresee that changing at all," said Taman. "The Rob Murphy money they're looking for... I guess we'll have to see how the market plays out for them. Can we afford him? That's the question."

As for Canada, Taman is hoping a chat with the free-spirited Californian some time next week will help the organization get a feel for his football wants and desires.

"It's hard to gauge what's going on right now," Taman said. "His agent sent me something in December, 'How are we with Tom?' And I said, 'Let's start talking...' He sent me something back that he didn't know what Tom was doing and he didn't have any answers yet. But the scuttlebutt was he wasn't sure if he wanted to come back, then I heard he wanted to try the NFL and then I heard he didn't want to play and then I heard he didn't like Winnipeg.

"I'll try to have a heart-to-heart with him and see where's he's at."

The other Bomber would-be free agents are OL Matt Sheridan, QB Ryan Dinwiddie, SB Jamie Stoddard, DBs Greg Bearman and Ian Logan, LB/DE Adrian Baird and LB Neil McKinlay.

NEW BLUE BLOOD: The team has yet to formally announce it, but they have found their first candidate to challenge veteran kicker Troy Westwood. The Bombers have signed Canadian punter Darryl Wheeler, a Stoney Creek, Ont., product who began at the University of Toronto in 2002 where he played safety, corner, receiver and linebacker, but did not kick. He enrolled at Utah State and saw spot duty as a punter but did not play in '07.

BLUE NOTES: The Bombers have lost the services of defensive backs coach Corey Chamblin to the Calgary Stampeders. Chamblin joined the team from NFL Europe last season, but will now be part of John Hufnagel's new staff with the Stamps... Taman will chat with head coach Doug Berry about a contract extension, although the Bomber boss is under contract for 2008 with an option for 2009. "We'll definitely talk about it, for sure, but he's basically got two years left on his deal," said Taman. "It's great for us to be talking about maintaining continuity than looking for a new head coach in mid-January."