Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/1/2009 (4921 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
And the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have the proof.
The club believed it had come to a verbal agreement with would-be free agent centre Dominic Picard, only to have the third-year Bomber push away from the negotiating table. A CFL source told the Free Press Picard was offered a $60,000 base salary with a $40,000 signing bonus but -- after apparently agreeing to the numbers -- he's now being represented by agent Gil Scott and is interested in testing the free agent waters. The Toronto Argonauts, seeking a possible heir to Chad Folk, are believed to have Picard on their wish list.
"Word travels fast, doesn't it?" said Bomber director of football operations Ross Hodgkinson, currently scouting the talent at the Cactus Bowl in Texas. "There are a couple of CFL teams down here and one guy came up to me and said he knew exactly what I had offered Picard.
"Dominic and I had a conversation before he left at the end of the year. I sent him some numbers around Christmas and it wasn't exactly what he was looking for. We had another conversation and I came back with what I thought he was looking for and I thought at that point we were pretty close. And when I called him back to see where we were at and to shore things up he said he had talked to an agent and he was going to go that route.
"I'm not exactly sure where things stand now. I had a very brief conversation with his agent on (Tuesday) and we're supposed to hook up in the next couple of days but I have no indication of what Gil is going to throw at me."
Hodgkinson has also spoken with starting left tackle Alexandre Gauthier and confirmed speculation his return to Winnipeg is iffy. Gauthier works and lives in Calgary in the offseason and is also said to be on the Argo radar screen.
"He's got pretty lofty expectations and I'm not sure... we can't make everybody happy," said Hodgkinson of Gauthier. "We obviously understand the offensive line is a pretty tenuous spot right now with Picard, Gauthier, (Kyle) Koch and (Matt) O'Meara (all heading to free agency). Picard's obviously a high priority, but I've been instructed that we can only do what we believe we can do with him within our structure.
"We're chipping away. Between Picard, Gauthier and Fred Reid and Gavin Walls, those are the top four -- not to diminish anyone else's value -- but that's our starting point. And I'm optimistic with the likes of Graeme Bell and some of those other guys that we can get something done."
One of the juicier names that may have piqued the Bombers' interest was taken off the market on Wednesday when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats signed kicker Nick Setta to a multi- year contract extension. B.C. Lions kicker Paul McCallum, who was believed to also be on the team's list, re-signed before Christmas.
Meanwhile, the Montreal Alouettes re-signed offensive lineman Josh Bourke on Wednesday and the Edmonton Eskimos dumped defensive back Jordan Younger and O-lineman Tim Bakker.
BLUE NOTES: Bomber receiver Romby Bryant was scheduled to work out for the Pittsburgh Steelers recently, but there is currently no word on if he is about to head south to the NFL.
The Big Blue free agent crew
A look at the 12 Bomber players scheduled to become free agents on Feb. 16 (nose tackle Jerome Haywood was officially released by the club on Dec. 1): age: 28 — Came back from a gruesome injury to be named the Bombers’ top specialteams
1FB Graeme Bell, Canadian: age: 28 -- Came back from a gruesome injury to be named the Bombers' top special-teams player in '08.
LB Ike Charlton, import: age: 31 -- Missed six games due to injury, hurting his defensive numbers and killing his goal of being named the club's top defensive player.
LS Chris Cvetkovic, Canadian: age: 31 -- Solid, consistent, one of the best at the long-snapping trade in the CFL.
LT Alexandre Gauthier, Canadian: age: 32 -- One of a dying breed -- a Canadian who plays left tackle and protects the QB's blind side.
LB Cam Hall, import: age: 26 -- Superb early last year; shuffled around due to injuries elsewhere and it negatively affected his play.
OL Kyle Koch, Canadian: age: 24 -- Gritty and scrappy, Koch was starting and playing well at right guard before his season was cut down by injury.
DE Shawn Mayne, Canadian: age: 25 -- Bit player who backs up along the D-line but may still have upside.
OL Matt O'Meara, Canadian: age: 26 -- Versatile guard/tackle who saw spot starting duty in '08.
DL Jon Oosterhuis, Canadian: age: 31 -- Popular reserve who can play end or tackle.
C Dominic Picard, Canadian: age: 26 -- Feisty starting centre who brings a nastiness to the trenches.
RB Fred Reid, import: age: 26 -- Jumped off the page after Charles Roberts was traded. An East Division all-star in just over a half-season of work.
DE Gavin Walls, import: age: 28 -- Consistent double-digit sack master (40 in four seasons) and an east all-star.