Ticats make it official

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

HAMILTON -- It wasn't a mystery that Jason Maas would be traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but it's anybody's guess who will be the team's offensive co-ordinator.

The Tiger-Cats officially welcomed Maas yesterday, who was acquired the previous week in a multiple-player deal with Edmonton, and the rugged quarterback immediately agreed to a new three-year deal. While financial details were not revealed, it's believed he will collect at least $300,000 a season, basically doubling his pay to put him in line with the median salary for starting CFL quarterbacks.

Now the Tiger-Cats are hoping to sign a new offensive co-ordinator within a week's time. Head coach Greg Marshall is eyeing former Ottawa head coach Joe Paopao, but he's one of several candidates in line for the vacant head coaching job with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. One of the other candidates is current Argo offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin. If Austin is hired by Winnipeg, the Argos are going to go hard after Paopao, who has previous experience coaching Toronto quarterback Damon Allen with the B.C. Lions.

Marshall indicated he might add the offensive co-ordinator's role to his duties. He has experience with the University of Western Ontario and McMaster University.

MAYBE IT'S TIME

"It's difficult with all the other things that I do to be able to put the time in (to be offensive co-ordinator)," Marshall said. "When you have a quarterback like Jason Maas, he can make an offensive co-ordinator look good. Maybe it's time."

Maas succeeds Danny McManus, who quarterbacked the Tiger-Cats for eight seasons. Tiger-Cats general manager Rob Katz said when the Tiger-Cats promoted him to his current role on Aug. 10, he contacted the Eskimos about Maas's availability. The five-year veteran had been the backup to starter Ricky Ray and the Eskimos had no intention of dealing him at the time. But in the months that followed talks heated up, which resulted in a multiple-player deal sending feature running back Troy Davis and offensive lineman Dan Comiskey to Edmonton for defensive back Tay Cody, receiver Brock Ralph and a first-round draft pick. That led to last week's deal -- which had been rumoured for some time -- sending Maas and a sixth-round draft pick next year for McManus, offensive lineman Tim Bakker, defensive back Imokhai Atogwe and the Ticats' first pick overall in the 2006 draft.

"I basically want to focus on the task at hand and that's being a Hamilton Tiger-Cat," Maas said. "I'll always look back on those memories (with Edmonton), but I'm looking forward to these next three years and, in particular, this year upcoming. I'm looking forward to competing for that starting job. That's what I want. I knew that wasn't going to be the case in Edmonton."


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