CFL could obliterate its credibility if they give Johnny Manziel special treatment

Who wants to talk more about contracts and leaving for the NFL?

It has been the topic that has dominated the off-season more than any other. More than potential expansion to Halifax, more than who will sign where in free agency and more than whatever Johnny Manziel is up to at any given moment.

OK, maybe not that last one.

But the newest report of a player possibly wanting an opt-out option combines that talking point with Johnny Manziel, so it’s win-win, right?

The news came to us from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk when he wrote about what is next for Manziel.

The requisite CFL talk came up, as did the possibility of Johnny joining the Alliance of American Football (AAF), and it seems the sticking point for Mr. Football is the length of time he’d have to spend up here in Canada.

[T]he CFL continues to refuse to relent on its requirement that Manziel commit for two seasons.

I get that Manziel wants to get back to the NFL as soon as possible — news flash: so does almost every American player who first comes to the CFL —but if he is to embark on his #ComebackSZN in Canada, he’ll be required to sign the standard two-year, entry-level contract that every newbie to the CFL has to sign.

Or will he?

Later in Florio’s piece he drops this nugget:

However, the possibility lingers that the CFL will make a change in order to entice Manziel to come to Canada, allowing him for example to leave after one year, if he plays well enough to attract NFL interest.

Well, isn’t that interesting? And talk about a rather abrupt about-face after the off-season we’ve had.

Now, it must be stated that Florio is not a connected man in the CFL, and no one in CFL circles has suggested that the league would allow this, so this could be Florio putting things together on his own and it is pure speculation on his part.

That said, if we take this at face value, this is a pretty bad look for the league if this turns out to be true.

Side deals and handshake agreements have been one of the topics du jour since the off-season began.

We had the whole James Wilder, Jr. and Victor Butler fiascos, the Micah Awe situation that saw the B.C. Lions get “heavily fined” and most recently the debacle regarding Justin Zimmer (where, unbeknownst to the league, he had an out clause written into his contract).

It looks like Manziel wants a contract like Zimmer’s, but there is no way the league would consider that… would they?

No, they can’t, and not just because it would be placating the demands of a guy who hasn’t proven anything on a CFL field, but because it would be a slap in the face to James Wilder, Jr., Victor Butler and the B.C. Lions. They took a lot of body shots over the last few months for taking the stances they took and for the league to turn around and grant the exact same thing they were crushed for to someone else would not do much for their public image.

In fact, I would go so far as to say it would obliterate its credibility in the eyes of the players and many fans.

If this was any player other than Manziel, perhaps people would be more willing to see the player get such a deal, but it’s not, and for as much as I am an advocate of players maximizing their income as quickly as they can, we can’t have the league making policy changes like this for one player.

The NFL option window should exist, but it doesn’t, and if it doesn’t for James Wilder, Victor Butler or Micah Awe, then it shouldn’t for Johnny Manziel either.

Manziel wants a quick path back to the NFL, and that’s fine, but that path involves two years of commitment to the CFL, not one.

If he doesn’t like that, he doesn’t have to sign. The CFL was here before him and the CFL will be here after him.

The league simply cannot risk its credibility by providing special treatment for a “star” player. To do so would be a black mark on a league.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.
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Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.

72 Comments on CFL could obliterate its credibility if they give Johnny Manziel special treatment

  1. Mr Red // May 6, 2018 at 3:46 pm //

    The CFL is no stranger to breaking it’s own rules when it see’s fit. Look how it handled the US expansion. If that didn’t obliterate it’s credibility, I don’t see why this would.

    • That was a long time ago Red. Don’t live in the past.

    • That was over 20 years ago? Live in the past much?
      Solution is simple. Sign him to a 2 year deal. Have a handshake agreement to realease him after year one and eat the $4500 fine. Not rocket science. It Will take Johnny a whole year to figure out the CFL anyway. Which also means no NFL team will be looking to sign him and when no NFL team wants him, he can just finish out his contract.

  2. White Horse // May 6, 2018 at 3:58 pm //

    That CFL expansion into the USA has pretty much been washed over and forgotten. I do remember the Lions defeating the Baltimore Stallions in the 1994 Grey Cup and the Stamps losing 1995 Cup in Regina to Tracy Ham and Don Matthews Stallions. Stamps QB was D Flutie. They were handily defeated also!!!

    • Mr Red // May 6, 2018 at 4:12 pm //

      Yep 1995 was pretty ugly. Wasn’t Flutie’s fault, it was special teams

  3. The header about says it all.

  4. Doug Mc Clintock // May 6, 2018 at 4:23 pm //

    Manziel is not Johnny Football or Mr Football ! You are making him something he is not. Him playing in the CFL for just one year, what good is that to anyone ? We need players that will show commitment and stay with a team and build it up to be a contender. There is to much speculation and 3DownNation is guilty of that to a large degree !

    • Mr Red // May 6, 2018 at 4:58 pm //

      Careful what you say!!!! Johnny might sue!!

    • I toootally agree, I think this Topic should be swept under the bus .. as well as Johnny M

      • I think the Halifax expansion should be swept under the table too. At least there is a chance that Manziel will play here.
        No chance that Halifax builds a stadium and gets a CFL team

  5. Rider fan // May 6, 2018 at 4:42 pm //

    With the free agents area it is hard to build a team. In the last years the closest would be the stamps. They would have there free agents go elsewhere. Hard to build with this. This league needs multiple year deals. This might need a larger cap and change the ratio.

    • Mr Red // May 6, 2018 at 4:57 pm //

      Stamps can do it. Stamps pretty well resign everyone they want, with the exception of Tommy Campbell. The key is not to over pay guys

  6. My opinion was and still is the same. The hang up in negotiations was not the money. It was the two year contract. Please for people to wonder what Manziel brings to the cfl have very little business acumen. Saying that to be clear the cfl is not going to make public announcement on manziels release after one year. The nfl window was hit topic of discussion. It won’t happen this season but will happen by spring 2019 for all cfl players including Manziel. So to have all the debate that Johnny Manziel will get special attention is absurd. Let’s get him here to cfl. The Manziel contract details I believe will remain between the parties.

  7. Freelasagnahunter // May 6, 2018 at 5:11 pm //

    Baseless speculation gets full hearing as if fact from website in turn gets full hearing again from site contributor.
    Yeah, and its the league whose credibility is at stake

  8. To allow this to happen, especially with the CBA expiring in 2019, would be a dangerous precedent.

    • Evan I don’t understand your comment. Cfl would not set up a special contract. Johnny Manziel would have to wait till that happens. I presume if I was Johnny Manziel I would want a provision in he contract that should the nfl window change that he would be allowed the option of exercising said option in 2019. If it doesn’t we not happen he is under contract. There are different provisions that could be worked out with the team but the trigger would be the nfl window rule change.

  9. fannotacoach // May 6, 2018 at 5:32 pm //

    No where has the CFL or it’s rep’s said anything about changing rules to accommodate this player!!! It’s all speculation on the part of a “sports journalist” and his efforts to create a story that everyone bites on. Josh is doing the same thing as Florio and at this point it’s like saying the CFL is going to go with US teams again. If it’s not true it’s [email protected]@@t! How about a story with some facts?

  10. Edward Leslie // May 6, 2018 at 6:20 pm //

    I think they are putting WAY TOO MUCH importance on what this Florio guy says. He’s not connected to the CFL in any way, so who cares what he says?
    Originally I said Johnny Manziel deserves a second chance, and I wanted to see him come to the CFL. Not anymore. I really think it’s best if he doesn’t come to the CFL.
    The two year contracts are a good idea because that’s one of the main complaints fans have about the CFL: too much roster turnover. Fans have a hard time because teams don’t have enough of an identity with all the player movement.
    The players should have to abide by their contracts, but it works both ways too. The CFL needs to put in some kind of guaranteed contracts for players. Just tossing them aside whenever they feel like it and cutting players before bonuses are due is wrong too.
    They should at least make contracts for players who’ve played at least two years guaranteed forcat least one season. Something to make the contracts more binding on both parties, not just the players alone.

  11. Tigers Coach // May 6, 2018 at 6:21 pm //

    This Florio character says that the possibility lingers that the CFL will accommodate Manziel with a one year out option. Well, technically he’s correct, the possibility exists right until the moment that Manziel signs a two year contract without a one year out option.

    Given the ruckus this off season and the expiring CBA I think it’s fair to assume that the chance of this actually happening is pretty much zero. I do expect the CFL to keep this for negotiations in the next CBA; however, the voting members likely won’t care about it because they’re all past their first year and therefore eligible for one year deals should they want them. Because of that, I’m not even certain that it will get into the next CBA, but I’m quite confident that it won’t be used as a one off for Manziel.

  12. Florio is lost in the sauce!!!

  13. Chris AB // May 6, 2018 at 7:24 pm //

    the CFL is the oldest football league on Earth….US TV contracts are on the way….revenues up….new stadiums….expansion

    don’t let this little prick Manziel treat it like his farm league

    PS Johnny Manziel, the 30 plus teams in the NFL don’t want you….spoiled, lazy, sloppy and mediocre

    • NO the CFL dates back to 1958, check google.
      Some of the teams date back many years but before the 1930s they were playing Rugby not football.
      The Americans created football when they brought in the forward pass around 1912. In Canada we didn’t have the forward pass until the 1930s and that’s when it evolved from rugby to football

  14. I don’t understand Manziel thinking.He seems to be in no mans land.He needs to get back on the field as quick as possible. It should not be about money or years of contract.A two year contract is what he needs to reclimatize his football career.If he succeeds in the CFL the NFL will come calling. If he keeps stalling,the years go by very quickly.

    • Cat Fan // May 7, 2018 at 11:24 am //

      Signing a CFL contract at the moment locks Manziel into a two year deal. Where he or his agent believe an NFL team might want him – there is no advantage to signing. Particularly, if like some are saying, his talent means he will quickly be a starter that dominates the league.

      I can understand a delay – the question is when to give up and sign.

      The risk of this strategy is that the Cats decide to move on where they don’t trade his rights and/or they can’t trade his rights as no other CFL team is interested.

  15. solara2000 // May 6, 2018 at 7:54 pm //

    Johnny Who?

  16. Foodie Foodnerd // May 6, 2018 at 8:25 pm //

    Florio’s entire schtick consists of:

    A– ludicrous speculation pulled out of his backside, that he then follows up with a string of, “Latest victim of my idiocy still refusing to dignify it with a response,”
    then finally his stop-the-presses brag of having solved the big mystery all by himself.

    B– obsessively advocating for teams, players and coaches to make horrible, self-destructive demands, decisions and contract holdouts that serve only to stir up middle-school drama and give him more clickbait to copy and paste from legitimate sports sites.

    The only thing more mortifying and appalling than sticking you fine folks up north with Johnny Footnote is subjecting you to Florio’s drama queen antics.

  17. Sixbeamers // May 6, 2018 at 8:44 pm //

    I think this is pure speculation on the part of Mike Florio. There’s been no indication that the two-year rule will be waived for Manziel. No cause to get your knickers in a twist, people.

  18. Paul Bomber // May 6, 2018 at 8:44 pm //

    The CFL announces the passing of Credibly after a valiant fight. Credibility is pre deceased by their life-partner, Common Sense.
    A celebration of life is to be scheduled at a later date.
    In lieu of flowers, a donation Manziel Immunity Research Centre would be appreciated.

    • Red_Zone // May 7, 2018 at 2:32 pm //

      I’m going to assume that English is your second language, as you make no sense whatsoever.

    • Red_Zone // May 7, 2018 at 2:35 pm //

      I just noticed you’re a Bomber fan, now it makes sense.

  19. Credibility??? Seriously??? In order to lose credibility you had to have it in the first place. The CFL brain trust <– (oxymoron) lost credibility a long time ago. They have nothing to lose by making the rules as they go along.

    • Paul Bomber // May 6, 2018 at 9:02 pm //

      Fan? ExFan? Not sure how to take your comments.

      • Fan for over forty years, getting sick and tired of all the incompetence, from unbelievably poor officiating to overall poor mismanagement. Is that clear enough for you???

        • Tailgate YYC // May 7, 2018 at 11:24 am //

          WOW, bitter much??? Talk to your grand kids that way??

        • Paul Bomber // May 7, 2018 at 12:22 pm //

          we’ll miss you, Jimmy. Switching to the NoFunLeague, I assume?

          • Foodie Foodnerd // May 8, 2018 at 4:23 am //

            Paul Bomber, if poor officiating is driving any CFL fans to the NoFunLeague you’d better keep their seats warm (and beer cold); they’ll be back before our pre-season is finished.

    • gmen32 // May 6, 2018 at 9:15 pm //

      As opposed to the league worth billions and billions down south who still struggle to define a catch? Wouldn’t look there for credibility either.

      • Where did you get that I was a fan of the NFL??? A league that colludes to black ball a player because he dares to exercise he’s right to free speech. I don’t even watch the super bowl, so not sure what your point is?

        • Paul Bomber // May 7, 2018 at 12:25 pm //

          oh… so NOT switching to the NoFunLeague. Hmm… so…. just a thought, but you might want to not start watching Soccer or any other olympic sport (corrupt), or any pro sport (fans hate the refs in every league unless their team wins the championship). You may want to start watching Poker or Pool. Good luck!

  20. Steve Oli // May 6, 2018 at 8:59 pm //

    Manziel is a bum.

    • Bleeding Green // May 8, 2018 at 9:31 pm //

      Well said Steve. Hahaha in the thick of all the comments; “Manziel is a bum”

  21. Foodie Foodnerd // May 6, 2018 at 9:02 pm //

    If Johnny Footnote was half the football player — and man — that he thinks he is, you’d have the Gray Cup guaranteed for years to come.

    Unfortunately, even if you could somehow take away the ego, arrogance and immaturity; magically add a few inches of height; pile on 20-30 lbs of muscle; boost him even close to CFL defense speed; grow a work ethic; reverse the brain and body damage from his years-long, six-figure coke binge; and recruit former college teammate Mike Evans to catch his wild jump balls…

    he still has never learned a playbook, not even the embarrassingly simplified one his college coaches dumbed down for him.

    Add in trying to learn the CFL game and regulations (while always blatantly peering over his shoulder for a cracked window into the NFL).

    If he were as cleaned up and ready to put in the work longterm (for literally the first time in his life), he would have signed his generously bloated TiCats contract to prove he has what it takes, not paid out of pocket to be in a two-week beer league.

  22. richinbanff (Rich Wilson) // May 6, 2018 at 9:09 pm //

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t minimum contract length an item that is collectively bargained between the players and owners?

    If true it seems impossible that the league would ever make ANY exception, for surely the union would attempt to make the change permanent.

    • Paul Bomber // May 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm //

      Don’t forget, this is the league that introduced the marquee player rule (basically, you had to tackle Doug Flutie gently) and officially gave the Argos a pass on the salary cap (such as it was in the days of the personal services contracts) so they could have Flutie and Rocket Ishmael (spelling?) on the field at the same time, so anything is possible.

  23. Colin Unger // May 6, 2018 at 9:39 pm //

    I don’t see what the point when be to have a quarterback come to the cfl for just one season. In all honesty he she should sign a 3 year deal in the cfl if he’s going to come here at all. One year to learn the game. One year to play and improve and one year to dominate.

  24. FrankS // May 6, 2018 at 9:49 pm //

    Mr. Commissioner:
    Please don’t do it.

  25. Daniel van Dijk // May 6, 2018 at 10:05 pm //

    Wot is the cfl and why would Johnny Football want to play there.

  26. Barry Soetoro // May 6, 2018 at 11:29 pm //

    The CFL has done similar things. In the first attempt at having a salary cap the Argos didn’t have to count Doug Flutie’s wages. His salary was deemed exempt for the good of the league.

    • If I was cfl I would bring up Johnny Manziel and Work out some arrangement as the media hype and media impressions in North America would be worth it.

  27. Yawn…triple yawn…how about those Jets? Will they be the first Canadian NHL team to win the SC since 1993 Habs?

  28. Rider fan // May 7, 2018 at 7:10 am //

    Yes the jets have a chance. Go Canada

  29. Bomb Away // May 7, 2018 at 10:29 am //

    Lose? I was not aware the league had any credibility.

  30. Beamreach // May 7, 2018 at 10:36 am //

    Manziel gets a one year contract after signing a two….simple

  31. Hey people, the CFL is moving (make that creeping very slowly) past…uh…their past. They still, however, do the two-step dance: 2 steps forward, one step back…like the recent stupidity of, basically, eliminating the awesome spectacle of a guy leaping up to make a catch at the sideline, only to have a defender pound him out of bounds before he comes down. THIS IS STUPID BEYOND REASON…yet they reasoned that it would be easier on the stripes, who would not have to make a judgement call, ostensibly, one less chance for them to screw up. But I digress. I have been pounding the drums forever (tnx Ed Leslie for bringing it up again) but the current CFL CBA is a colossal joke.
    If the CFL wants to gain yards on the credibility playing field, they need to re-jig the grossly unfair practice of a player being summarily cut, often just before a bonus payment. The bonus payment is wrong to begin with, because, in most cases, it us used to circumvent the salary cap…in effect, borrowing from next year’s cap. The bonus would almost disappear if the team was forced to pay the bonus.
    The result would be less player movement, which would help to establish fan-player identity/loyalty, with the added bonus of increased merchandising.

    While the league can’t afford to fully pay out contracts of players who are cut, there should be some kind of partial buyout clause for veteran players.

    As for Johnny Loser coming for a year (which would be an embarrassment for him, because he couldn’t learn the game fast enough to be effective) the team would be really stupid to agree, because they would be in a no-win situation: if he is wildly successful, he leaves, if he flops, he leaves. His legacy would be disrupting/delaying the development of the QB whose job he took. THIS IS INSANITY!

    • Foodie Foodnerd // May 8, 2018 at 5:27 am //

      DAKAZ, Johnny Footnote has no intention of learning any aspect of the Canadian game. His sole battle plan is same as it’s been since the PeeWee leagues — run around madly, then fling up another wild jump ball that his receivers defy the laws of physics to reach and haul in.

      There is absolutely no way he makes it out of training camp if he has bother himself to even learn the rules, much less some actual plays.

      Your Dak, on the other hand, should tear it up this year, even losing Witten.

  32. IT is only BTW, but if Johnny Loser was such a fantastic QB prospect, he wouldn’t need to pay to play in a two-week beer league just to show what he can do. There is a dearth of QBs in the NFL right now, so if he had ANY CHANCE AT ALL of playing in the NFL again, don’t you think some team would, at least, invite him for a tryout? What a novel idea! Making a team like everyone else does! I CAN NOT EVEN FATHOM HOW THIS LOSER GETS SO MUCH INK??? There are real players, with talent, and work ethic, with real prospects of being successful, that don’t garner the same attention.
    It is also BTW, but how does a guy like June Jones (down boy, red setter, I am referring to June, not Chris) who is, ostensibly, an astute football guy, come out, anointing the loser as being the CFLs messiah? Obviously, he didn’t do his homework, which would have revealed how many wannabees come up here, thinking CFL=high school league=instant stardom, only to crash and burn.

    • Dakaz. Give your head a shake. You don’t have a clue re manziels talent. Your comments are rediculous. Like saying Einstein would fail a math test.

    • All the negative bloggers Hamilton tiger cat fans should be hoping that Hamilton releases him and he becomes a feee agent for any team to sign him. So Calgary BLM and Johnny fortball equals grey cup.

  33. Although this could be a CBA issue later this year, it doesn’t have to be. A simple majority of GMs can vote to bring back the annual NFL window. Last time the vote was 6-3 against. But sentiment seems to have shifted. So vote again, now, to change it for everyone for next February. No special treatment, and it seems like it will happen anyway, so just get on with it. The only thing I can think of is that they feel they have to wait a bit now, given the offseason turmoil with Wilder et al.

  34. RalphInTheCreek // May 7, 2018 at 2:24 pm //

    The little prick can’t get a job riding the pines in any league, let him get a job at McDonald’s.

  35. I am from the East Coast & I only watch the NFL…but if Johnny would come to Canada, I would watch the CFL…just to see how he does. My “true dream/wish” would be for Johnny to come & sign up with Atlantic CFL…that would be crazy. Halifax would go nuts. We NEED a stadium. Build it & the people will come.

  36. Agreed, but they need to respond quickly to competition from the aaf and xfl who will both offer one year initial contracts. Hold an emergency 9 team vote and allow for 1+1 player buyout contracts for ALL players so at least cfl teams make some money on one and done players.

  37. I would think any NFL team is going to want to see Manziel put up great stats and stay clean for at least two full seasons especially after the egg Manziel laid playing against talent nowhere near NFL (or CFL for that matter) talent in the intramural Spring League. Manziel doesn’t seem to get that billion dollar businesses don’t take unnecessary risks. His own faults now mean he’s going to be forced to learn to delay gratification to earn the trust HE destroyed.

  38. Which special treatment of Manziel is Josh talking about? The ComicIshioner already broke the rules to give Manziel special (bad) treatment by violating the neg list rules and stepping in when otherwise John would already be in the league. CFL already obliterated its credibility by violating its own neg list rules in the fall. The right thing to do is to make another exception to correct the exception they made in the fall.

  39. Candid Frank // May 8, 2018 at 10:26 pm //

    One rule for everyone. I do not believe the CFL Commissioner will allow this, a version of a side deal. CFL Players, Teams, Owners and Fans deserve one rule for all. Yes 2 year mandatory deal is not necessary any longer with the cap in place. Every Team gets an equal shot to players if the 2 year rule is consistent across the CFL or it is removed for everyone.

  40. Clay Connor // May 8, 2018 at 11:46 pm //

    I don’t think an exception will be made for Manziel. In his cross country tour of CFL cities this winter, Commissioner Ambrosie repeatedly stated, when the subject of reinstating the NFL window came up, that it was something that would have to be negotiated with the players and included in the 2019 collective agreement. That’s a bigger issue for the CFL than any 1 player.

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