Lumsden would be good fit

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Memo to Danny Maciocia: Look at every sensible option in an effort to acquire running back Jesse Lumsden from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before the CFL trade deadline.

It would be too simplistic to say the Edmonton Eskimos must get Lumsden before the Oct. 8 trade deadline, because the pieces of the trade have to make sense.

But as the Eskimos head coach and director of football operations, Maciocia should burn the phone lines with Tiger-Cat executives and pull the trigger on a trade for the ultra-talented tailback if the right deal is put on the table.

The struggling Green and Gold need a spark and a legitimate running game - or at the least the threat of one.

Lumsden is the answer to all of those issues.

Current Eskimo tailback AJ Harris isn't healthy enough to play tomorrow in Winnipeg (6 p.m. MT, TSN, CHED).

And when the rookie does return to the roster from his MCL sprain, will he be durable and effective enough to provide the running game required down the stretch in the CFL regular season?

Of course, there are health risks with Lumsden.

He has a history of shoulder and ankle problems in the last two seasons with the Ticats.

But the 26-year-old non-import is worth the risk.

When healthy, he has the ability to rumble for nearly 200 yards a game.

He has a 7.0-yard average per carry this season. Not one running back in the top 10 in CFL rushing this year has a higher average.

In his short four years in the league, he has a career 6.4-yard average.

SAME RECORD

At 7-5 in the West Division, the 2008 edition of the Green and Gold have the same record as the 2005 Eskimo club at the two-thirds mark of the regular season.

In the fall of 2005, the Eskimos acquired running back Troy Davis from Hamilton --and watched him become a major part of their run to the Grey Cup.

Davis averaged 90 yards on the ground in the final four regular-season games and then added an average of nearly 70 yards in the three postseason tilts.

Could history repeat?

Obviously, nobody within the Edmonton Eskimo coaching staff will talk on the record about the possibility of a trade for Lumsden.

But one CFL insider has told Sun Media he expects Hamilton to deal Lumsden before the trade deadline.

With all-star running back Kenton Keith joining Hamilton this week, Lumsden's future in Steeltown is unclear.

RISKING

To an outsider, the Ticats would be wise to make a trade instead of risking Lumsden walking away from the team this winter in free agency.

Why would Lumsden want to stay in Hamilton next season now that there is a new starting running back in town?

The Ticats need to add pieces to strengthen other areas - and Lumsden can bring those on the trade market.

Hamilton surely wants a deep receiving threat. Edmonton has Kelly Campbell, Maurice Mann and Fred Stamps in that category.

It would be surprising if Edmonton parted with one of those players.

But the Esks could offer a package deal to help on the offensive line and in the pass rush department.

Defensive end Brandon Guillory is clearly not in the picture on this team. Offensive lineman Aaron Fiacconi could start for most CFL teams, but hasn't dressed for a single game this year.

Then there is defensive back J.R. LaRose, who is also not in the current Eskimo picture.

Could a deal be made with some of those players?

But Hamilton doesn't exactly have a hammer in this situation.

With Lumsden set to be a free agent this winter, he might only stick with a team for five to eight games this fall.

With several teams already set at running back down the stretch, Edmonton might be one of the only suitors.

Even though Lumsden would add to the salary cap figure for the final regular-season games, the potential playoff payoff should be enough to spur Maciocia to pick up the phone.


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