Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Madani Breaks CFL News Left, Right and Centre

The following two stories come from Sportsnet's Arash Madani. You can hear Arash on "The Sportscage" every Tuesday and Thursday.


On October 14, Drew Tate took over for Henry Burris mid-way through a Stampeders game in Toronto and became Calgary’s starting quarterback.

Now, he’ll be paid like one.

The 28-year-old Tate has signed a three-year contract extension with the Stampeders, has learned, a deal that all but extinguishes any hope of Burris returning to Calgary in 2012.

A spokesman with the Stampeders would not confirm the Sportsnet report.

Locking up Tate long-term comes as little surprise. John Hufnagel, Calgary’s head coach and GM, openly told the media two weeks ago that the franchise was negotiating with Tate’s representatives. The 28-year-old won each of his three regular season starts to end the year, but struggled in the playoffs.

Regardless, it became clear by early November that the organization had turned the page, ending the Burris era and going with Tate, who will go into his fourth season with Calgary next spring.

It is believed that Tate will be earning significantly less than the salary cap hit of approximately $400,000 Burris made last season. The timing of the extension is critical: Tate’s signing bonus money will count toward the remaining dollars Calgary has available on the books in 2011, not next year’s cap.

Meanwhile, Burris and his family are in Calgary, and, while at the moment uncertain about this future, fully aware he will have a job in 2012. Where that is, remains to be seen, although all signs point to Hamilton, despite the Tiger-Cats head coaching job still vacant.

On December 16, Hufnagel told Al Cameron of the Calgary Herald that “all signs indicate that it's likely” Burris would be moving on. Whether Burris is traded (likely) or released, it has to happen before Feb. 1 when he is due a considerable bonus.

“We’re just sitting and waiting to see (what team) it’s going to be,” Burris said in a phone interview with “We’ve talked to a couple of different teams, but more for me it’s about being patient… If something happens this week, great. We will be somewhere else next year and wherever it will be, I’ll be excited about it.”

Burris’s next stop will likely involve a contract extension, and re-structuring of its own. It is hard to believe his next team will absorb

“I’m just waiting for the trade to happen. When it happens, I’ll be ready to move on and be excited. The future will be bright,” said Burris.

After franchise quarterback Ricky Ray was traded earlier this month, Kavis Reed said the Eskimos starting pivot job would be open for competition.

And Edmonton's head coach made sure there would be a veteran presence at training camp battling for the No. 1 spot with Steven Jyles and a pair of 24-year-olds looking to cut their teeth in the Canadian Football League.

Kerry Joseph inked a contract extension with the Eskimos Wednesday, has learned. His contract is believed to be loaded with incentives on playing time and number of starts.

The 38-year-old from Louisiana was Ray's back-up last season, but his role could change dramatically with the departure of the long-time Edmonton starter. With Reed maintaining that Jyles will not be handed the keys to the offence, the most intriguing CFL training camp quarterback battle will undoubtedly be in Northern Alberta with Jyles, Joseph as well as prospects Matt Nichols and Eric Ward vying for the top job.

A fifth quarterback, off Edmonton's negotiation list, may find himself in training camp as well.

Joseph was the league's most outstanding player in 2007, the same season he led Saskatchewan to a Grey Cup championship. He broke into the league with Ottawa in 2003, where he played three years, most as starter. The McNeese State product, who was a defensive back in the NFL, also spent two seasons in Toronto in 2008 and 2009.

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