The Toronto Argonauts hope Maurice Mann will become the big-play receiver they have lacked since trading away Arland Bruce early in the 2009 season.
The Argos acquired Mann from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Tuesday in exchange for defensive back Dee Webb and a conditional pick in the 2013 draft. The Canadian Football League trade deadline is Wednesday at 3:59 p.m. ET.
Toronto is last in the league in passing yards and new starting quarterback Steven Jyles has been unable to get in a rhythm with any of his current receivers.
Mann led the Ticats in receiving yards after two games, but a foot injury slowed his momentum. He has 20 catches for 173 yards in the six games since returning to the lineup.
Earlier this season, the Ticats indicated they were looking to get younger at the receiver position by shipping Bruce to the B.C. Lions. Rookie Chris Williams leads Hamilton in receiving yards and other first-year players Bakari Grant and Aaron Kelly have shown potential.
Ticats kick returner Marcus Thigpen, a running back by trade, has recently grabbed a starting receiver job and excelled, which also made Mann expendable.
Mann, in his fifth CFL season, caught 56 passes for 787 yards with Hamilton last year. No current Argos receiver is on pace to match that yardage total in 2011. Chad Owens is the team leader (555) while Brandon Rideau (467 yards in 12 games) and Prechae Rodriguez (30 in two) have failed to make a major impact. Another import receiver, Sammy Tranks, is gone for the year with an ACL injury.
Mann will not play on Friday when the Argos host the Calgary Stampeders. Barker wants to give the 29-year-old time to learn the playbook. Toronto has been eliminated from playoff contention, but Barker hopes the 6-foot-2 Mann will be a part of a turnaround in 2012.
“I like his size, I like his quickness out of the break, and I like that he goes to get the ball,” Barker said. “He’s a polished receiver. The little things, he doesn’t need to be coached on. He runs good routes. He understands how to setup DBs. When you watch him on tape he just gets it.”
Webb, who played mostly on special teams, was the first man in if one of Toronto’s defensive backs got hurt. He is likely to start on Sunday when the Ticats visit the Montreal Alouettes.
“The reason you make these types of trades is to get players who can come in and start right away,” Hamilton head coach Marcel Bellefeuille said.
Hamilton has allowed the second most passing yards this season and is looking to bolster a banged-up secondary. Loyce Means left last week’s game with an injury while Milt Collins missed it entirely and Ryan Hinds (ankle) was already out.
Bellefeuille thinks Webb will be able to adjust quickly, because he worked with Ticats defensive co-ordinator Corey Chamblin when the pair were in Calgary in 2009. Chamblin was the Stampeders defensive backs coach at the time.