O-line of riches

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos' renovation project has apparently reached the offensive line.

Left tackle Garrick Jones has reached a verbal agreement with the club.

However, the deal is not official - yet.

"We have got an agreement in principle. We do not have a signed document," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia.

"We do not have a signed contract. Until he signs a contract, it is not really a deal yet.

"But I don't foresee any problems."

Providing Jones signs on the dotted line - which is expected sometime today - the Esks will have a major stockpile of CFL-experienced offensive linemen on the roster.

"One area of concern was definitely the offensive line," admitted Maciocia. "Now we have got ourselves a proven commodity in a guy (Jones) that has played in the NFL and has played in the CFL.

"He can play guard, he can play either tackle position.

"He understands the league."

A 29-year-old import, Jones has three years of CFL experience - finishing on the injured list (shoulder) in Calgary last year.

A CFL source told Sun Media that Jones would likely command $110,000-$120,000 on the open market.

If Jones joins the Esks, Maciocia will be faced with some interesting decisions.

Where does he line up on the O-line?

Who's spot does he take?

Who is sent out the door?

Dan Comiskey and Aaron Fiacconi are essentially guaranteed jobs.

But where do Joe McGrath, Rhett McLane, Tim Bakker, Raleigh Roundtree and Patrick Kabongo fit?

Stay tuned.

STILL HUNTING: The Eskimos have shown interest in non-import defensive end Adrian Baird, Sun Media has learned from a source.

The 28-year-old is a special teams player - registering nearly 30 tackles in the last two years in Winnipeg.

Four other teams, however, are also interested in Baird on the free-agent market.

SHORT YARDAGE: The Green and Gold have inquired about free-agent OG Matthew Sheridan, but aren't expected to sign the high-priced lineman ... After Edmonton showed interest in Jojuan Armour, Montreal signed the import last yesterday ... Of note with Dario Romero's signing, Maciocia continues to lock up new players in long-term deals. In the last 10 days, the coach has negotiated three-year contracts with Fred Perry, Brock Ralph and Romero.

QUICK HIT: The Eskimos have signed offensive lineman Fabio Filice, Sun Media has learned.

The non-import tackle was drafted in the second round of the 2005 CFL draft.

He played with Toronto last year. Expect Edmonton to announce the signing soon.

EXTRA POINT: While announcing Romero's contract yesterday, Maciocia played the character card again.

"I am trying to add character," said the director of football operations.

"If you take a look at teams that were successful in the past - whether it was 2003 or 2005, we had the desire and the character that when the fourth quarter rolled around we would take that attitude that we are going to make a difference out here today.

"And that is something I feel that was lacking in the past."

PARTING SHOT: With five of the first 26 picks in this spring's CFL draft, the coaching staff sees the importance of success at the draft table.

"We have to hit a home run with those five picks," said Maciocia.

Needing to improve its Canadian content, the majority of those picks must make the roster on special teams - at the very least.


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