WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are on the verge of locking up a pair of potential free agents.
Wide receiver Greg Carr and backup quarterback Joey Elliott are close to new deals with the Blue and Gold, according to those close to the negotiations. Both are eligible to become CFL free agents on Feb. 15.
Carr, 26, is a 6-foot-6 pass catcher out of Florida State who was plagued by injuries in 2011 but has the potential to be a game-breaker when healthy. He has interest from a few NFL teams, but it’s almost guaranteed he will return to the Bombers. Carr doesn’t want to play for any other CFL team.
Carr had 46 catches for 648 yards and four touchdowns in only 11 games. He got hurt in the season-opener and missed the next six games. He then sat out the regular-season finale in Calgary
In 18 career regular-season games, Carr has 78 catches for 1,227 yards and eight touchdowns. That works out to a pretty good season. He just needs to stay healthy.
Elliott, meanwhile, is coming off a serious knee injury he suffered in the third game of last season. The Purdue product leapfrogged Alex Brink on the depth chart last off-season, and it appears the Bombers are sticking by him.
Starter Buck Pierce and Brink are also free agents.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders released left tackle Alex Gauthier on Tuesday, which could have an impact in Winnipeg.
The Bombers pursued the former No. 1 overall draft pick last February before the Roughriders stepped up and signed the Quebec native.
The Riders let him go because he’s 35, his six-figure salary and his performance, but it will be interesting to see if the Bombers are still interested. There are rumblings Winnipeg is looking at starting four Canadians on the offensive line to solve the ratio problem that will be created if and when defensive tackle Doug Brown retires.
If that is indeed the case, the Blue and Gold would need a Canadian tackle, and they don’t exactly grow on trees. Gauthier played in Winnipeg in 2007 and 2008, helping it get to the Grey Cup in ’07, and he loved his time here.
He would have no problem returning here, but Bombers GM Joe Mack, whom the Bombers didn’t make available for an interview on Tuesday, likes young and inexpensive talent. Gauthier is neither of those, but he might not be a bad short-term option.
Imports Glenn January and Andre Douglas were Winnipeg’s tackles last season, and they are both eligible to become free agents on Feb. 15. Kelly Butler, who was a healthy scratch for the entire 2011 season, has signed a new deal and will battle for a starting job in training camp.