Joseph stands to cash in his 'chips'

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

By CFL standards, Kerry Joseph is in the process of making a big jump.

He's going from the low end of the quarterback pay scale to the top.

From the fifth QB on the training camp depth chart at his first Renegades camp in 2003, Joseph will make in the neighbourhood of $400,000 next season, the option year of his contract.

As one agent said yesterday, that will "put him in the mix" of the league's top-paid players with the likes of Edmonton's Ricky Ray, B.C.'s Dave Dickenson, Montreal's Anthony Calvillo and Calgary's Henry Burris.

In 2004, his first full season as a starter, Joseph was considered the bargain of all the throwers with a salary in the $150,000 range. This season he received a nice raise and should earn about $270,000, but that's still about $80,000 less than Burris, whom he greatly outperformed in Saturday's 33-18 win over the Stamps.

"I look at it a couple of different ways," Joseph said of the wage discrepancy after yesterday's practice. "One is that my time will come if I do the things I'm capable of doing. The other is, it kind of upsets me. I don't let it become a distraction, but it kind of makes me play with a chip on my shoulder. Most importantly, I'm trying to help the team win every way I can. But I use (the chip) to help me showcase the ability I have."

So far this season, he's making a strong case that he deserves to be paid in accordance with the league's best.

Following a strong performance in Saturday's 33-18 win over Calgary, Joseph joined Ray and Damon Allen as the only QBs to cross the 1,000-passing yard barrier to date -- although he is also one of five yet to have a bye week.

Joseph has the CFL's fourth-best pass completion percentage at 62.9, having completed 73-of-116 tosses for 1,029 yards with five TD throws and four interceptions. He also has the third-best QB efficiency rating at 91.5, behind only Dickenson (113.4) and Allen (101.7).

Joseph's running ability, however, is matched only by the Roughriders' Nealon Greene among CFL QBs.

He is tied for the league lead in TDs scored, with three, and is fourth among all CFL rushers, having carried the ball 32 times for 220 yards.

Renegades president Lonie Glieberman says the team has no problem paying top dollar for a quality QB.

"We don't discuss negotiations in the newspaper, but obviously Kerry Joseph is a key component to this team," said Glieberman. "Hopefully, we can sit down with him and talk about long-term plans."

"The team is 2-2, Kerry played well the last game, the players and coaches really like him and he is a good leader on and off the field. One of the reasons we're doing well is the continuity between the coaches and the quarterback."

Joseph is not pushing for a contract extension, as it would be in his best interests to keep his options open for awhile yet. Ultimately, they could include a return to the NFL, where Joseph was making more than $450,000 US as a safety with the Seattle Seahawks in 2001.

"My whole thing on that is taking it one game at a time," said the 31-year-old Joseph. "I focus on who we are playing each week and getting my job done. Once we get to that other road, we'll see which way to go."


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