A corner and a cornerstone

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

It's official: Danny Maciocia has just put a massive new stamp on the Edmonton Eskimos secondary.

On the heels of acquiring Jason Goss and signing Stanford Samuels earlier this week, Maciocia has now signed all-star import cornerback Omarr Morgan to a lucrative deal.

The Sun has learned Morgan has inked a five-year deal worth nearly $725,000.

"I was fortunate enough to sell (Morgan) on finishing his career (with Edmonton)," said an elated Maciocia last night.

But while the Eskimos are thrilled, there are some mixed emotions for Morgan, who was the most coveted player on the CFL free-agent market.

"It's a great day because I have a new deal, but it's kind of bitter," said Morgan on the fact he is leaving the Saskatchewan Roughriders after seven years. "Edmonton was persistent in getting me - but it's very tough (to leave Regina). They have been nothing but great to me. They have some of the best fans in the league."

And those Rider fans will be livid for weeks over Morgan leaving, but Saskatchewan couldn't match the Esks's offer.

"Edmonton spent a lot of money and got a very good football player," Rider general manager Eric Tillman told the Sun last night.

"The decision is made and life goes along."

In the final hours of negotiating it's believed the Riders offered Morgan a deal near $130,000 a year.

The Eskimos' deal starts near $140,000 and escalates toward $150,000 per year.

"The contract we offered would have made Omarr the third highest-paid player on our team," said Tillman.

For the Esks, their final line of defence on the field has just become much stronger and younger.

Samuels is 26 years old. Goss is 27. Morgan is 30.

While the astonishing week of recruiting likely means the end of Shannon Garrett's and/or Donald Brady's career with the Green and Gold, Morgan gives Edmonton a shutdown cornerback who only surrendered two touchdowns last year.

"I've gone against him for five years with Edmonton and I know how much respect we had for him," said Maciocia.

"He's fairly difficult to play against."

Maciocia hasn't publicly tipped his hand regarding where Samuels and Goss will line up in the summer, but Edmonton will surely have one of the most expensive secondary units.

It's believed Goss, Morgan and Samuels will combine to earn almost $365,000 during the first year of the enforced $4.05 million salary cap.

So it comes as no surprise that Maciocia is likely done on the free agent market.

"I think so," he said. "I had a budget and there is not much wiggle room left."

Maciocia refuses to speculate on the futures of Garrett, 35, and Brady, 33, but did admit: "That is something I probably am going to look at in the next few weeks.

"Anytime you go after people and you have to get to the magic number (the salary cap), you will have to make a few moves later on.

"Some people have taken salary cuts and some other people will have to take salary cuts."


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