Lumsden on radar

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:10 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos are in the hunt for running back Jesse Lumsden.

With the CFL trade deadline today at 2 p.m. MT, the Esks have spoken to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats about the tailback.

When asked when was the last time he'd heard from the Eskimos with a trade offer for Lumsden, Hamilton general manager Bob O'Billovich told Sun Media on Tuesday: "We talked yesterday."

Of course, O'Billovich isn't mentioning names of players being offered.

And Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia isn't talking about Lumsden in public.

But there is interest and plenty of intrigue with the deadline fast approaching.

There are plenty of reasons for a deal to be made.

On Hamilton's side of the coin, Lumsden could walk away from the team in four games.

A free agent this winter, the talented running back could easily leave the Ticats for a more successful organization.

With newly signed tailback Kenton Keith in Hamilton, there is also reason to believe that Lumsden's role in Steeltown will be reduced if he stays.

On Edmonton's side of the coin, the club could use a legitimate non-import running threat.

RARE COMMODITY

While fourth-round pick Calvin McCarty had success in his first ever CFL start last weekend (4.6 yards average per carry), Lumsden is a rare commodity when healthy.

At six-foot-two and 226 pounds, he can pound the rock for three yards or scamper for 60 yards down the sidelines.

He's averaging 7.0 yards per carry this season - more than any other running back in the top 15 on the CFL's rushing chart.

If Lumsden was acquired by the Green and Gold, they would have an instant back-up in McCarty - meaning the club wouldn't have to worry about the American/Canadian ratio if Lumsden had to come out of the game.

Of course, there is the issue of Lumsden's health. He has battled shoulder and ankle problems the last two years.

But O'Billovich claims there are no health problems right now, even though Lumsden was scratched last week.

"Our doctor told us last week ... he should be OK for the balance of the season," said the Hamilton GM.

RIGHT PIECES

However, while a deal seems to make sense on many levels, it still takes the right pieces from Edmonton to make it work.

And O'Billovich hasn't received an offer that has piqued his interest quite yet.

"Unless somebody is really serious, I'm not interested in making a trade," he remarked.

When asked if he was forecasting any major action on trade deadline day, Maciocia responded: "I doubt it very, very much. I think what you see is what you get tomorrow for the rest of the way (this season)."

Common sense would suggest the Ticats aren't in a position of strength when trying to deal Lumsden.

Without a contract for next year, he could just be a rental for the remaining four regular-season games and the playoffs for another team.

And common sense also suggests the Ticats might be wise to get something - a real good prospect or an established starter - for Lumsden right now than watch him walk away for nothing on the free-agent market.

Some names have been thrown out as possible Eskimos trade bait: defensive end Brandon Guillory, offensive lineman Aaron Fiacconi to name two.

But who knows if Maciocia is even offering those players to O'Billovich?

It's hard to pull a trade in the CFL.

But Maciocia has a history of pulling the right strings at the right time on the trade market.


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