Renegades are hot after Hervey

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

Three CFL free agents who did not wear Renegades colours last season can expect a phone call from Joe Paopao tomorrow.

And, for at least one or maybe even two of them, the GM/coach feels he'll be able to compete with anybody in the league.

"Every year you look at the bottom line and work backwards," said Paopao, whose bosses tend to look at the league's $2.6-million salary "guideline" a little more seriously than others. "Our philosophy hasn't changed. We'll try to be fiscally responsible, and go from there."

Paopao points out that Ottawa's advantage is having quarterback whose salary "isn't at the high end," as Kerry Joseph's $160,000 (base) stipend allows some budget room.

He also says the Renegades have four specific areas they want to improve during the off-season: Wide receiver, defensive line, the secondary and kicking game.

It's believed the apple of their eye on the free-agent market will be Ed Hervey, a very fast wideout who has spent the past six seasons with Edmonton. The 'Gades' second choice could be B.C.'s Chris Brazzell, another wide receiver with decent size.

"We need a guy with Jason Armstead capabilities ... when he catches it, he's gone," said Paopao. "We had a lot of possession type guys last season."

The lineman the 'Gades should strongly consider is Toronto's Eric England, an import who led the CFL in sacks two seasons ago. A pass rush is something Ottawa lacked under former co-ordinator Gary Etcheverry's system.

A natural for the 'Gades would be local boy Cameron Legault, one of the last remaining former Carleton Ravens in the CFL. He played for Richard Harris, their new defensive line coach, the last four seasons in B.C.

The Renegades would do well to steal away Montreal cornerback Davis Sanchez, a player they almost acquired last off-season.

Sanchez is a Canadian and will command a six-figure salary, but having him a bookend to Crance Clemons would drastically upgrade the Gades' secondary. Clifford Ivory of the Argos is another defensive back who could tempt Ottawa.

Two linebackers in particular should spark the Renegades interest: B.C.'s Carl Kidd and Toronto's Kevin Eiben. Kidd, an import, is a high-energy type who never lacks for something to say -- both on the field and to the media. Eiben, a Canadian, benefitted from the schemes he was in to lead the Argos in most defensive categories.

Like other GMs, Paopao says losing Canadian content is what worries him most.

"You can always get an import guy," he said. "What Eric (Tillman) built up here, hey, we're pretty good. Last year we started 12 (Canadians) because they were our best players."

The Renegades plan on having Sandro Sciortino back from his battle with cancer and hope the second-year kicker can find the consistency he lacked in 2004. Paopao will also bring in a couple of other ball booters to compete for the job.


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