Eskimos trade Carr to Roughriders for O'Donnell

The Eskimos shipped wide receiver Greg Carr to the Roughriders on Wednesday. (Perry Nelson/QMI...

The Eskimos shipped wide receiver Greg Carr to the Roughriders on Wednesday. (Perry Nelson/QMI Agency/Files)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:19 PM ET

EDMONTON - Talk about a big deal.

The Edmonton Eskimos traded six-foot-six receiver Greg Carr to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in exchange for six-foot-nine offensive lineman Matthew O'Donnell, the clubs announced Wednesday.

While they thought they were getting a lean, mean fighter jet of a receiver in Carr, all the Eskimos ended up with was a lemon.

After just 19 receptions for 214 yards and one touchdown in seven games this season, the import Carr was dealt at the CFL season's midpoint for the playing rights of the hulking Canadian.

The 340-pound O'Donnell, a native of Comox, B.C., who attended a workout session with the NBA's Boston Celtics in June, 2011, spent last season on the practice roster of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals before being released in the last round of cuts in this year's training camp.

A second-round (15th overall) draft pick by the Riders in 2011, the Queen's University product has yet to sign a contract in the CFL, but is well decorated from his time in the CIS, where he earned back-to-back Orrin Carson memorial trophies as best offensive lineman and first-team all-Canadian honours.

"The best trades help both clubs," said Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman. "From our perspective, we are very pleased to gain the rights to a quality young Canadian offensive tackle.

"Matthew's development began at Queens, a program we hold in high regard, and we feel he's made substantial improvement during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals, via two training camps and a full year on their practice squad."

Besides relieving some pressure off of the salary cap this season -- Carr was attracted to Edmonton during free-agency bidding -- the Eskimos will look to sign a promising young Canadian who could end up contributing on the offensive line for years to come.

They also swapped their fifth-round draft pick in 2013 for Saskatchewan's fourth-round selection.

"You know that there has been a lot of attention to deliberate details in his skill development," Reed said of O'Donnell's time with the Bengals.

As for Carr, Reed said the expectations were set too high for him coming in.

"I don't think it's Greg's performance, I think it's the things we've asked him to do," Reed said. "He got hurt early in the year, missed a few games and really didn't get his timing right down.

"The last few weeks, we saw that he started to get his timing, but at this time of year, with the opportunity to consummate a deal that will possibly give us the ability to go with five Canadian O-linemen in the future, we felt it was a prudent decision."

Look for rookie Canadian Shamawd Chambers to help fill the void left by Carr, along with import receiver Marcus Henry, who is scheduled to come off the nine-game injured list this week following a knee injury in training camp.

QB OR NOT QB?: For Steven Jyles to resume his role at quarterback this week, his calf injury will have to be completely healed. Otherwise, Kerry Joseph will get the nod again.

"Because Kerry played so well, 'OK' is probably not the green light for me," Reed said. " 'OK' is going to have to be 99.9% for us to make that move."

IN AND OUT: DB Weldon Brown (groin) did not practise Wednesday and will not play this week. DE Marcus Howard (hamstring) worked out privately with defensive line coach Kit Lathrop Tuesday before being given Wednesday off. He is expected to play Friday. DT Ted Laurent (ankle) will not be ready to return until next week at the earliest.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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