Argos sign Barnes

Edmonton Eskimos' Jason Barnes looks at the clock during the CFL Western Finals against Calgary...

Edmonton Eskimos' Jason Barnes looks at the clock during the CFL Western Finals against Calgary Stampeders at Commonwealth Stadium, Nov. 13, 2011. (PERRY MAH/QMI Agency)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:13 PM ET

Give Jim Barker credit for getting a jump on the opposition, getting the team’s new quarterback a receiver capable of making plays in the air and down the field.

On the eve of Wednesday’s CFL free agency, the Argos GM came to terms with Jason Barnes, who played in Edmonton for Ricky Ray.

“I am definitely excited about the opportunity to come to Toronto and continue to play with Ricky,” Barnes said in a statement. “I’m glad it worked out the way it did.”

Barnes made a heroic recovery from a ruptured spleen he suffered two years ago in Hamilton and hooked up with Ray last year to help give Edmonton its passing offence.

Under rookie head coach Scott Milanovich, the Argos plan on attacking the field and Barnes, who was released last month by the Eskies, has shown an ability to produce big plays.

At least he’s a legitimate receiver, unlike the many stiffs the Argos have auditioned in recent years.

But fans should not be carried away by Barnes’ signing.

Had it been, say, a Fred Stamps coming to town, then fans of the Boatmen could get excited.

Still, Barnes is no bum and his presence at least gives Ray a sense of familiarity.

Another former weapon Ray can turn to is Maurice Mann, who was acquired late last season from Hamilton, but never got into a rhythm as an Argo.

“I can’t wait to learn from coach Milanovich,” continued Barnes. “I like what he did in Montreal and look forward to working with him.”

Added Ray, “I’m excited to have Jason Barnes as an Argonaut. We’ve developed a good chemistry over the years in Edmonton.

“He’s a guy who will bring some big plays to our offence and he is going to be a great leader for the younger receivers in our locker room. It will be nice to already have an established relationship and a comfort level with Jason as we learn a new offence and develop our timing with the rest of the players.”


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