Defensive lineman Corey Mace has yet to step onto the field at training camp for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and it sounds like he won't be showing up any time soon.
According to the Hamilton Spectator, Mace is looking for a one-year deal which would see him make a salary comparable to that of an NFL practice roster player and the Tiger-Cats have a different opinion.
Mace was drafted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the second round of the 2007 Canadian College Draft but signed with the Buffalo Bills. The Tiger-Cats acquired the rights to the Port Moody, B.C. native and a 2009 first round pick for Zeke Moreno in September.
The report indicates practice roster players in the NFL earn in the neighbourhood of $95,000 while a second round pick in the CFL Draft can expect to make about $65,000 and therein lies the roadblock.
"For us to even consider the Ticats as an option, they would have to present an offer which reflected two things: one, a one-year-and-option deal, and two, core compensation which was at least equal to NFL practice squad money. It's as simple as that," Mace's agent Paul Sheehy said in an e-mail to the Spectator. "The Ticats keep focusing on the fact that Corey was a second-round pick in the CFL draft and their offers have reflected that restrictive range. The fact that he was a second-round CFL pick is, quite frankly, completely irrelevant."
Should Mace sign a one-year deal with an option for a second, he would be eligible to explore his NFL opportunities again next season.
Tiger-Cats general manager Bob O'Billovich feels it would be best for both sides to come to terms on an agreement sooner than later.
"I told his agent: 'The longer you keep him out of this, the worse it makes it for him if he's going to play'' " O'Billovich told the newspaper. "You can only evaluate based on the guys you have here. Corey Mace has been down in the NFL, but so what? How many plays has he had in the NFL? That's why it's important for him to get up here so we can see if he's good enough to play."
For a defence that finished near the bottom in most statistical categories, Mace would provide a solid addition, especially on the pass rush.