The golden fleece

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:24 PM ET

Danny Maciocia painted the picture of the perfect deal.

"Both teams are winners and Jason Maas is the big winner," said the head coach.

No. Whoa. The big winner was the Edmonton Eskimos, not Jason Maas. The Eskimos won the Grey Cup.

Yesterday it was finally made official. Maas and a sixth round draft choice to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for Tim Bakker, Danny McManus, Imokhai Atogwe and a first-round draft choice, the first pick overall in the draft. Almost exactly as advertised in the original Sun scoop.

And Eskimos COO Rick LeLacheur was left to do the dance in regards to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats having dibs after the exceedingly one-sided trade to bring Troy Davis and Dan Comiskey to the Eskimos late in the season. I mean, give me a break. If the Davis-Comiskey deal hadn't been done as a lead-in to this deal, how would you feel about trading a quarterback for an offensive lineman and a draft choice, which essentially is what this deal will shake down to being? If we're to judge this as a stand-alone deal, LeLacheur was hosed!

WATCH THE COO DANCE

Fortunately, no matter how the Eskimos' COO danced, he didn't convince anybody that these were two separate deals which had no carryover or crossover.

"What we agreed to was to talk after the season. The only promise was just that we'd talk. Rob Katz (agent) phoned me first thing Monday morning in Vancouver to congratulate me on winning the Grey Cup and talk about the deal. Congratulating me might not have been his first priority.

"On Wednesday we let him know we'd signed Jason to a new contract. Rob did not even know we signed Jason to a new contract until we told him Wednesday,'' LeLacheur tried again.

The new deal, believed to be a $300,000 one year and option, was loosely portrayed as something the Eskimos came up with in the last few days. But Maas said that wasn't the case.

Maas said the Eskimos gave him a verbal commitment that if Ricky Ray returned, they'd redo his deal.

"That was the promise if Ricky came back - that the contract I was on this year would not be the contract I was traded for,'' said Maas.

Whatever. The Eskimos won the Grey Cup. And the Hamilton Tiger-Cats got themselves a quarterback who wasn't going to be here next year anyway.

There are people who want to make a criminal case about the carryover from the Davis-Comiskey deal. You'd think these guys invented future considerations here.

All is fair in love and war. You think the other teams were that happy with the Edmonton Oilers getting Petr Nedved for nothing last hockey season?

It made sense for everybody involved to get something now for Jason Maas later.

"I'd like to thank Rick and Hugh for sticking to a promise we made for a year. I appreciate them sticking to that promise, especially when there were times this year they were needing players.''

Maas made out well.

"The deal is nothing like Dave Dickenson and Ricky Ray are making,'' he said of the $400,000-plus deals. "But it is a deal similar to other starting quarterbacks in this league and it does say the team taking me was going to be serious about me.''

MCMANUS'S $250,000-PLUS SALARY

The thing I don't get about this deal is why in the world the Eskimos would want Danny McManus and his $250,000-plus salary?

"Insurance,'' said LeLacheur. "He could work with both Ricky and Jason Johnson.''

Edmonton develops quarterbacks. The Eskimos have been the official quarterback supplier to the CFL for years. It's a long and impressive list. So develop another Ricky Ray and another Jason Maas. Why have an old, used (and previously abused in this city) quarterback come here who won't get a single snap in the regular season unless Ray gets hurt?

And hands up, anybody, who thinks Old Man McManus could come off the bench breathing fire like Maas did in the playoff to save the day for Ricky Ray?

It makes no sense to me unless the Eskimos are bringing him here to cut him like they did with Khari Jones last year.

At the end of the day, Edmonton can only wish Jason Maas well.

The Tiger-Cats traded what would have been two of his top offensive linemen to get him and he has a history of getting hurt.

Good luck, Jason. Either way.


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