Out of running?

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

SANCHEZ BACK WITH ALS

The Als did a deal with Edmonton yesterday sending import defensive lineman Rob Brown and import defensive back Reggie Durden to the Eskimos for non-import cornerback Davis Sanchez. This will be Sanchez's third time with the Als.

It looks as though Keith Stokes may not be stoked up to play for the Argos.

The Argos were involved in a bidding war with Winnipeg, where Stokes played the past two years. A league source told the Toronto Sun that Stokes had agreed to come to Toronto, then backed out.

He indicated on Friday he planned to make a decision by the next day, but yesterday was still undecided. Another source said Stokes may be angling for a better offer from Montreal, where he lives and played the first two years before being traded to Winnipeg in 2004.

The Als have a return specialist in Ezra Landry, but Stokes offers the versatility of playing receiver and backing up at running back.

"We're interested, but he wants more than we want to pay, that's the bottom line," Argos general manager Adam Rita said. "That's the beauty of the salary management system. You just stop when you run out of money."

Rita said the Argos have no plans to increase their offer.

"That's it," he said. "I've been negotiating long enough."

Winnipeg has a standing offer of $100,000 a year with incentives to increase it to $120,000. He had an $80,000 base last year and totalled about $100,000 overall.

Rita termed the Argos offer "fair."

The Argos already have a solid returner in Bashir Levingston, but his future with the team is unclear.

He has been asked to take a pay cut on his salary, which is believed to be about $125,000 a year and includes a scheduled bonus payment on March 1.

Because Levingston hasn't been able to prove to the Argos he can play on offence or defence on a consistent basis -- despite his public demands -- he has been asked to renegotiate his deal.

The Argos have capable proven returners in receivers Arland Bruce and Tony Miles and cornerback Adrion Smith.

"There are guys out there and we'll find one," Rita said.

Rita said Levingston could be part of the mix if he agrees to the pay cut.

"He knows what has to happen for him to be on our team. Keith Stokes knows that now," Rita said.


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