Bombers busy in early going

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

It is a simple plan of attack.

Blue Bombers head coach Jim Daley opens the hole and GM Brendan Taman comes shooting through with enough cash to sack a coveted free agent, if convinced the subject wants to come to Winnipeg.

Well, in the very first day of CFL free agency, Daley contacted wide receiver/kick returner Wane McGarity, whom he coached in Calgary two years ago. And Taman has already made that all-important follow-up call to his agent.

"We have started talking dollars and cents to players," Taman confirmed yesterday.

McGarity could not be reached for comment.

But McGarity was not the only free agent discussing monetary numbers with the local football club.

"Jim made a lot of the initial calls and I'm following up with the serious topics," Taman said.

Although McGarity seems to be Winnipeg's first focus, wide receivers Chris Brazzell (B.C.), Ed Hervey (Edmonton) and Jeremaine Copeland (Montreal) are still in their sights. The latter two, however, are likely out of the Bomber price range.

"We've talked to a lot of receivers, O-linemen and some DBs," Taman said. "And the odd guy at other positions as well. We made quite a few calls and got some good responses."

One of those contacted was Montreal offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli. However, free agent O-lineman Luke Fritz will reportedly re-sign with the Alouettes.

There is a whole slew of free agent defensive backs available and Taman has not ruled out inviting former Calgary quarterback Marcus Crandell to camp. And he could get into the bidding war for QB Henry Burris (Saskatchewan).

Others who have drawn Bomber interest are believed to be defensive linemen Rahim Abdullah (Edmonton) and Eric England (Toronto).

Meanwhile, the NFL window on Bomber QB Tee Martin closed Tuesday night, which means he will be at Winnipeg's training camp.

"It's always good news when you keep a good quarterback," said Taman, who did not lose any players to the NFL this winter.

Taman is still awaiting responses from the offers he made to a number of Bomber players who officially became free agents Tuesday, including linebacker Ryland Wickman.

"He was evaluated at length by the coaching staff but he has to make sure where he fits in football-wise," Taman said.

Wickman has been labelled a run-stopping specialist who is usually replaced on obvious passing plays.


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