Eskimos send Derek Schiavone to Alouettes in trade

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:44 AM ET

EDMONTON - Call it the curse of Jackie Parker.

Edmonton Eskimos fifth-year kicker Derek Schiavone was traded to the Montreal Alouettes on Wednesday, just one field goal shy of passing Parker for seventh on the club’s all-time list.

But the voodoo extends far beyond Schiavone in the deal, which also sent Edmonton’s first- and fourth-round picks in the 2013 draft to Montreal in exchange for 2011 first-round selection Brody McKnight.

While the move certainly looks costly, appearances can be deceiving and pulling back the curtain reveals a bit of magic.

On the heels of a pair of losses to the Calgary Stampeders that saw Burke Dales suffer what is likely a season-ending foot injury, Edmonton Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman not only filled a void at punter, but found some cap space to boot.

Schiavone was dealt the day before his contract as a four-year veteran would have been guaranteed, meaning the Eskimos were stuck with three kickers for the rest of the season.

Instead, they swapped a kicker’s salary with the Alouettes, while Dales’s pay doesn’t count against the cap while he’s on the nine-game.

“It’s always hard to trade a No. 1 draft pick, but we got a No. 1 draft pick and I think that we now have a nice kicking combination,” said Tillman, who brought Shaw back home to Edmonton as part of the Ricky Ray trade in the off-season. “Any time you make a move like this, you know there’s going to be criticism. You knew there was going to be the Grant Shaw linkage.

“If this isn’t your first rodeo, you’ll understand that.”

And that’s no bull.

“We were criticized a couple years ago when we traded Noel Prefontaine,” Tillman said of the 2010 deal that was also made before guaranteed money came into play. “I would think I was the village idiot then and I think Damaso Munoz and (Etienne) Legare have turned out OK.”

In five seasons with the Esks, Schiavone played in 12 games and converted 39 of 45 field goals for an 86.7% success rate. He also punted 33 times for 1,301 yards, averaging 39.4 yards per punt.

McKnight, a native of Vancouver, returned to the University of Montana to play his senior season after being drafted by the Aloeuttes, making 21 of 28 field goals and punting 53 times for an average of 42.8 yards, while averaging 62.4 yards on kickoffs.

Wednesday’s move doesn’t necessarily mean the Eskimos won’t be picking in Round 1 of next year’s draft.

“A lot of things can happen between now and the draft,” Tillman said. “What we’re focused on right now, obviously though, is 2012. (But) when you have assets, assets have value.

“I think Montreal has already stated that they were previously offered a No. 1 this year for Brody and declined it. The (Arizona) Cardinals brought him in, the (N.Y.) Jets brought him into mini-camp. There’s a reason Montreal took him in the first round a year before they would get him because of the value that was there.”

IN AND OUT: Previously absent DE Marcus Howard (hamstring) worked out on the sidelines, but isn’t expected to play, while DE Julius Williams was given the day off to recuperate. DB Weldon Brown was sidelined once again and is doubtful to play this week.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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