Esks not doing much in free agency: Maciocia

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:07 PM ET

With a pool of players set to flood into free agency when the clock strikes midnight in Toronto on Sunday, the Edmonton Eskimos are heading in with their heads above water.

“We have a good nucleus and foundation in place so I don’t think we’re going to be active at all,” said general manager Danny Maciocia. “Another issue we have to deal with is the number of bodies here and the salary cap, so I think for the most part we’re just going to take a seat and watch it go. But we’ll also keep an eye on it to see how it all goes down.”

With the acquisition of linebacker Javier Glatt, who was released by the B.C. Lions prior to the expiration of his contract, and a trade for Toronto Argonauts receivers Andre Talbot and Brad Smith last week, the Eskimos added a host of Canadian talent to allow for some flexibility in the future.

“That was our so-called version of free agency, really,” Maciocia said. “Those guys, whether it’s through a trade or one guy being let go, we targeted those individuals because we felt they can add some depth and potentially along the way even change the ratio.

“I think after what took place last week, it’s more reason why we’re not going to do much in free agency.”

Which is the opposite approach the club took in Maciocia’s first year as general manager in 2009.

“I don’t think we can be any more active than we were last year,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to be active. As a club, I think we’re quite comfortable where we’re at.

“I know we have (another day) to go, but we haven’t lost anybody to the NFL.”

One question that remains, at least for Sunday, is the status of offensive lineman Calvin Armstrong, who is set to enter the option year of his contract with the Eskimos in 2010 and has expressed interest in shopping his talents around the NFL.

The six-foot-seven, 320-pound import offensive lineman finished his sophomore CFL season in 2009 on a line where no one missed a single snap the entire season.

His return would make for a big piece of continuity on offence.

“It’s huge,” Maciocia said. “You don’t have to go out and try to replace a piece here and a piece there on the offensive line. Offensively, you’re only going to be as good as the guys up front if they’re able to protect and open up holes for the tailbacks.

“Hopefully that will pay dividends for us.”

Otherwise, cornerback Byron Parker is the only Eskimos player slated to become a free agent.

“Every year there are always a few players that catch your eye, it’s no different this year” Maciocia said. “It will be interesting to see what kind of activity there is compared to the previous years just because it seems like a lot of teams, for the most part, have a good nucleus and a good foundation already in place.

“We’ll see how active it gets but there are some players out there that can help some teams.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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