Esks deal veteran McManus to Calgary

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:33 AM ET

The writing may have been on the wall for quarterback Danny McManus.

When the Edmonton Eskimos signed quarterback Steven Jyles last week, it was evident McManus's return to Edmonton could be a short one.

He didn't even make it to training camp.

Yesterday the Eskimos dealt the veteran pivot - acquired in a trade from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this off-season - to the Calgary Stampeders for a third-round pick in the upcoming CFL Canadian College draft.

"We were not really actively shopping him," said Eskimos COO Rick LeLacheur. "We're always shopping how we can improve our team, whether it's quarterback or other positions.

"We're very satisfied, Calgary is satisfied, and when that happens, I think it's a good trade for both sides."

The Eskimos acquired McManus in December, along with offensive lineman Tim Bakker and a first-round pick in the trade that sent quarterback Jason Maas to Hamilton.

Maas was rumoured to be Hamilton-bound following the 2005 season as part of a deal which brought running back Troy Davis and offensive lineman Dan Comiskey to Edmonton in October for receiver Brock Ralph, defensive back Tad Cody and a first-round draft pick.

The CFL looked into both transactions and found no connection.

Last week, the Eskimos signed Jyles, a standout at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, giving the team four quarterbacks.

With Ricky Ray the designated starter, and Jason Johnson in the mix, someone had to go.

"We're very high on Steven as a player coming out of college," LeLacheur said. "Our coaches have watched a lot of film on him. Steven's in (general manager) Paul Jones' backyard so he has watched him a lot.

"The coaching staff is also high on Jason Johnson and this will give them both an opportunity to show their wares in training camp, get extra reps to what they would have versus four or five quarterbacks here. It's up to them at this point to show the coaches what they can do."

The new salary cap also played a part in the trade. McManus is a 17-year veteran, six-time Grey Cup champion and former league MVP. His contract would have had to have been restructured in order for the Eskimos to remain under the league's new salary management system.

"We'd had some preliminary discussion with Danny about the possibility of restructuring his contract," LeLacheur said.

"I think when you talk of restructuring, particularly down, it's like all of us, you're not particularly thrilled.

"I think you recognize the situation and at some point, when you do restructure any player's contract, you have to make sure both parties are satisfied."

In Calgary McManus will most likely back up Henry Burris.

"You don't think of a trade after already being traded. It's definitely a different situation but I'm excited about it," McManus told The Canadian Press.

"I think that Calgary is a team that I've always thought about playing with throughout my CFL career and now it's finally come true after 16 years."

Trading McManus to the Eskimos' closest rival was not a huge concern to LeLacheur. He was also confident Johnson or Jyles would be able to step in if Ray suffers an injury.

"That's always a bugaboo with trades. Everybody is always so worried how it can come back and bite you," LeLacheur said.

"On the other hand, a third-round choice in the Canadian draft, we could get a non-import player that could be with us for the next 10 years. I guess time will tell."

NOTES ... Ray, Johnson and Maas are helping out at the University of Alberta Golden Bears quarterback camp at the Butterdome (8:30 a.m.) and Lister Turf (11 a.m.) tomorrow ... The Eskimos' annual high school camp kicks off Monday at 4:30 p.m., Clarke Park. Johnson, Dan Comiskey, Ron McClendon, Taylor Inglis, Donny Brady, Singor Mobley and Randy Spencer will help out at the camp.


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