Former GM Danny Maciocia would not have made Manziel trade

University of Montreal head coach and former CFL general manager Danny Macicioa would not have made the trade for Johnny Manziel.

The Montreal Alouettes acquired Manziel along with offensive linemen Tony Washington and Landon Rice in exchange for Canadian defensive end Jamaal Westerman, receiver Chris Williams and a first-round pick in 2020 and 2021.

“No, I wouldn’t have made this trade. No, I would not have made this trade, no,” Maciocia said on TSN radio.

“There are just too many question marks regarding this transaction.”

The 51-year-old Carabins bench boss turned down an offer from the Als to become the team’s president in December 2016. Maciocia has extensive CFL experience with the Alouettes and Eskimos. He won a Grey Cup as Edmonton’s head coach in 2005 and spent three seasons as general manager there.

“It’s clearly a desperate move because this transaction does not take place going into training camp and coming out of training camp. With a 1-4 record and there is a strong possibility that only two teams in the East are going to qualify for the playoffs. This is an all-in move right now we need to win right away,” Maciocia said.

“This trade has the theme or the heading should be: I’m all in, now. This trade does not address tomorrow, this has to happen right away. This is not a move that it’s going to come to dividends or pay fruition two, three years down the line, this is something that is going to have to happen right away and if it doesn’t happen well obviously it’s not going to have a happy ending.”

Maciocia believes there are three main phases when it comes to building a successful team: you need to have a bonified starting quarterback, strong Canadian content and steady offensive line largely built on a framework of national o-lineman often chosen high in the CFL Draft.

“Don’t forget those two draft picks in 2020 and 2021, typically they’re going to give you 15-20 years of service and they’re going to be projected starters, so that’s what you’ve traded,” Maciocia said.

“You also gave up a premier defensive player that you worked so hard to try to convince to sign with you [Jamaal Westerman] and you traded him after five weeks. And reality is you’ve also traded your only vertical threat on the football team to Hamilton and I’m making reference to [Chris] Williams who you traded [Gabriel] Knapton to B.C. for, so you can also make the argument that you also traded Knapton to get what you got today in the Manziel deal. This transaction has a win now at all costs.”

The length of Manziel’s contract and the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner’s desire to return to the NFL are major factors.

“You’re mortgaging quite a bit here with all these draft picks that have been traded to Hamilton knowing full well that you’re all in right now, you want results right now. And you’re hoping and you’re banking on the fact that if you’re able to get those results is to convince Manziel’s camp to extend his contract beyond 2019 and that’s going to be a challenge in my opinion,” Maciocia said.

“If Johnny Manziel is going to have success in the CFL there’s a strong possibility that at the conclusion of the 2019 season he’ll no longer be here, that’s just reality.”

Owner Andrew Wetenhall has been vocal about expecting the Alouettes to be a competitive team in 2018. However, Montreal sits tied for the worst record in the league through five games.

“If you listen to them talk about winning a Grey Cup within the next three years and some members of the organization have also said that they have to make the playoffs this year, they clearly need to win right away. With this transaction, they’re all in on making the playoffs and once you get into the playoffs, especially in the Canadian Football League anything is possible,” Maciocia said.

“But anything short of making the playoffs I think they would clearly be disappointed with this transaction because you’ve also mortgaged the future moving forward. It could have a collateral effect moving forward.”