'Gades zero in on Jesse

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Jesse Palmer has what it takes to be a successful CFL quarterback, says the one Renegades player who should know.

"He has a strong arm, he's smart and he has pro experience," said Sean Bennett, a running back/receiver on Ottawa's practice roster who was on the receiving end of Palmer passes when both were with the New York Giants in 2002.

"His only downfall is he's not the most mobile quarterback, but you can scheme around that. He has a great touch, strong arm and everything ... I think his arm overcomes what his legs lack.

"He has a quick release. He's very accurate. He's got the physical tools, as far as his arm goes. I would say his arm is not quite as strong as Kerry (Joseph's) but it's comparable," Bennett added, when asked how Palmer stacks up to Ottawa starter Kerry Joseph.

Yesterday saw the Renegades continue their efforts to strike a couple of deals that would bring Palmer home to Ottawa.

While they have yet to work out a trade with the Montreal Alouettes for Palmer's rights, they have been given permission to first make a deal with Palmer's Denver-based agent, Peter Schaffer.

The Renegades are offering to make Palmer the highest paid player in the CFL -- as much, if not more, for his selling appeal as the first Ottawa-born QB in the CFL as his ability on the field.

A misleading report in an Ottawa broadsheet yesterday built up the Argos as also being players for Palmer's rights. But that notion was shot down by Toronto president Keith Pelley, who says his team is quite content with 42-year-old Damon Allen and his heir apparent, Michael Bishop.

"It's a real long shot," Pelley said of the Argos pursuing Palmer.

Chances of Palmer signing with another team in the NFL now also appear slim. As a fifth year player he would earn, as a minimum, more than teams generally want to spend on a third string quarterback.

And most are satisfied with their backups now, though a Baltimore Sun report yesterday listed Palmer as a possible third quarterback in the wake of an injury to starter Kyle Boller. Ravens offensive co-ordinator Jim Fassel was the Giants' coach during Palmer's first two seasons.

"There are a lot of scenarios tossing around," Schaffer said. "We're looking for the best possible situation for Jesse. I would say that we're in the infant stages of everything."

NOT A DISTRACTION

Pat Woodcock, a Palmer friend and fellow Myers Riders alumnus, says he hasn't found all the talk about the Renegades quarterbacking situation to be a distraction in the team dressing room.

Woodcock says the ball is in good hands with the current QBs, and he doesn't expect Palmer to be playing in the CFL any time soon, anyway.

"Whatever happens is going to happen," said Woodcock.

"Who knows what he's thinking. But I would expect he'll exhaust every option in the NFL first."

Asked if Palmer could shine in the CFL, Woodcock was hesitant.

"It's hard to say. He has all the tools, but hasn't played the Canadian game for awhile," he said. "It's going to be a transition for him."

Bennett said Palmer has the personality to fit in well with any team.

"He's a good guy," he said. "What you saw on The Bachelor is pretty much him. He likes to have fun. When it comes down to playing ball, he takes care of business."


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