Maas nearing deal to become next coach of Eskimos

Jason Maas, right, is pictured during his time as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the Ottawa Redblacks. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

As quarterback and receiver, they hooked up to win the 2005 Grey Cup. Now, Ed Hervey is hoping his former gunslinger can do the same as a coach.

Sportsnet has learned that Jason Maas is negotiating with the Edmonton Eskimos to be the next head coach of the Grey Cup champions. CFL sources told Sportsnet that Maas, the Ottawa Redblacks’ offensive coordinator last season, has been in Edmonton working on parameters to an agreement.

Maas has quickly risen up the CFL coaching ranks since breaking into the fraternity in 2011 as the Toronto Argonauts’ receivers coach. He worked with Toronto’s quarterbacks the following three seasons, including the 100th Grey Cup win where he worked with another former teammate, Ricky Ray.

It was in Ottawa that Maas’s stock grew, with the renaissance of 40-year-old Henry Burris, as the second-year Redblacks went on an improbable run to the Grey Cup. While Maas had a year left on his contract in Ottawa, the team granted Edmonton permission to speak with its former quarterback. Just days prior, sources told Sportsnet the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had hoped to speak with Maas about their offensive coordinator job but the Redblacks denied permission.

While it has been reported that Maas will bring Barron Miles to coordinate the Eskimos defence, sources told Sportsnet that former B.C. Lions coach Mike Benevides may also be in the running for the job. Sources also said Redblacks running backs coach Jordan Maksymic will be among those joining Maas on Edmonton’s coaching staff.

The Ottawa franchise has been bracing for a change atop the offensive staff. A Redblacks source last week said Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell “feels Maas is gone already.” The organization had planned on speaking to Ryan Dinwiddie about the offensive coordinator job, sources said, but Dinwiddie accepted the quarterbacks coach position with the Calgary Stampeders last Tuesday.

Sportsnet first reported on Dec. 2, even before Chris Jones left Edmonton for Saskatchewan, that Maas would be the heir apparent.