Steven Jyles is mulling offers from the CFL's Prairie rivals, but it appears the free agent is leaning to the east.
The quarterback's agent, Ferrell Elliott, said Tuesday from Louisville, Ky., that the Jyles camp has received offers from both his current team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
"Yes, we're still in negotiations," Elliott said of his contact with the Bombers.
A source said both offers are similar. However, the fact Jyles would have a better shot at starting in Winnipeg than Saskatchewan, where Darian Durant has a hold on the No. 1 spot, is why Winnipeg has the edge in landing him, according to the source.
The book on Jyles is he has a stronger arm and is faster than Durant, but the latter's impressive football IQ was a big reason why he was ahead of Jyles on the Riders depth chart. Jyles has been in a backup role for four CFL seasons.
Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice, who was Jyles' offensive co-ordinator in Saskatchewan for the past two seasons, admitted they are interested in the 27-year-old pivot because "he's somebody who's got some experience."
That's as far as he would go.
LaPolice said the Bombers talked to "two or three" players on Tuesday, the first full day of free agency that was unusually quiet compared to other years. Teams have concentrated on locking up their own free agents this year and are hesitant to offer up-front money to unknown commodities since the salary cap is expected to remain at $4.2 million.
When you toss in the fact that the new regime on Maroons Road is a conservative group and the talent pool is thin, the result is not much action.
"If everything's right, it'd be good to sign somebody this week," LaPolice said. "I've been on teams that go, 'We just have to sign somebody in free agency!' and it's totally backfired for us. We overpaid for a guy, and the guy was not a great player, and we ended up trading him halfway through the season.
"... One of the things we've said from the start is we don't think there's a bad football team here."
The Bombers could use some depth at defensive back, where they lost halfback Jonathan Hefney to the NFL's Detroit Lions last month. A source said the Bombers are interested in Argos defensive back Jason Shivers, but it's believed he would prefer to stay in southern Ontario.
LaPolice admitted CFL experience in the secondary would be preferred.
"Absolutely, absolutely," he said. "But we have to make the right decision financially."
The Toronto Argonauts made the biggest splash on the first full day of free agency, although a slight ripple might be a more accurate description. They brought cornerback Byron Parker back from the Edmonton Eskimos and then signed offensive lineman Cedric Gagne-Marcoux away from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Winnipeg was also interested in signing Parker but was never a serious contender.
The Boatmen also re-signed import receiver P.K. Sam, leaving them with seven free agents.
The B.C. Lions snared one of the CFL all-stars up for grabs when they signed import defensive tackle Keron Williams away from the Montreal Alouettes.
The Roughriders spent most of Tuesday getting their own players back in Green and White. They re-signed a trio of Canadians -- fullback Chris Szarka, offensive lineman Marc Parenteau and long snapper Jocelyn Frenette -- and have agreed to terms with import linebacker Tad Kornegay.
CLARIFICATION: The Bombers don't have quarterback Adam DiMichele under contract, but LaPolice said they have him on their negotiation list and want to re-sign him.
QB Steven Jyles, Sask
RB Jamal Robertson, Tor
RB Wes Cates, Sask
- RB John Williams, Ham
- RB Alexis Bwenge, B.C.
- FB Teyo Johnson, Cgy
WR Gerran Walker, Sask
WR Reggie McNeal, Tor
- SB Bret Anderson, B.C.
OL Cliff Washburn, Sask
- OL Ryan Donnelly, Wpg
DE Jonathan Brown, Tor
DT Marcus Adams, Sask
DB Eddie Davis, Sask
S James Patrick, Sask
DB Willie Middlebrooks, Tor
CB Will Poole, Tor
DB Jason Shivers, Tor
- S Steven Holness, Wpg
CB James Johnson, Wpg
- PK Sandro DeAngelis, Cgy
KR Dominique Dorsey, Tor