So, what of Danny Mac?
Veteran quarterback Danny McManus helped lead the Tiger-Cats back on the road to respectability last season, only to be stung by Hamilton's pursuit of another aging pivot, Doug Flutie, in recent weeks.
"It is an awkward situation," Tiger-Cats head coach Greg Marshall admitted during yesterday's CFL state-of-the-franchise teleconference call. "But there are no guaranteed starting spots.
"(Ticats GM Ron) Lancaster had talked to Danny about it before the talks about Flutie came about. It's only right that he hears it from us before reading it in the newspapers."
However, when McManus was asked about the situation in another teleconference call, the former Blue Bomber said he had not really talked to Hamilton about the Flutie situation, then made it obvious that he did not want to discuss it further.
"We have not signed Flutie," Marshall hastened to add. "We have to make our plans as if he's not here. Danny played very well for us last year and a lot of our turnaround is attributed to Danny's leadership as well as what he did on the field."
Although McManus will turn 40 this June, Flutie is 42. The Tiger-Cats have made an offer to sign both Doug and his brother, Darren, a retired receiver, in a package deal. If accepted, it would likely end McManus's career, at least as a 'Cat.
Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young told the Hamilton Spectator that he could offer Doug Flutie $250,000, then raise another $500,000 in endorsement deals for him. But that could throw the phantom salary cap completely out of the widow.
"It's a unique situation," said Ticats president David Sauve. "We've worked the business model for that to make sense for us."
This is not the only awkward situation for the Tabbies as they prepare for training camp. They traded popular defensive end Joe Montford to Edmonton after refusing to give the veteran the raise he demanded and they are currently negotiating with disgruntled tailback Troy Davis, who also wants a pay hike. With defensive end Tim Cheatwood gone to the NFL, James Cotton is Hamilton's only experienced defensive end.
This is a franchise that should have been heading into the 2005 season with renewed vigour, not dealing with such headaches. They turned a 1-17 season in 2003 into 9-8-1 and a playoff spot last year. Marshall was named Coach of the Year, Davis was the CFL's leading rusher and Cheatwood and Montford were one-two in the quarterback sack race.
Hamilton did acquire veteran offensive lineman Dan Comiskey in the Montford deal and signed both receiver Chris Brazzell and Roger Dunbrack as free agents. Marshall, who has no interest in veteran defensive end Elfrid Payton, is looking into making a deal to get another rush end. And he could be interested in trading for an import linebacker with CFL experience.
"There is a lot of activity in the league right now and it is a possibility we can be looking at," Marshall said.
If so, Winnipeg has the bait.