Johnny Football won’t be lighting up the CFL any time soon

Do we have the next Tim Tebow on our hands?

It sure looks like it after ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wrote about Johnny Manziel and his possible move north of the border to play in the CFL. Seifert, who covers the NFL for ESPN, was in Canada last week to and attended the Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders game at Tim Hortons Field.

Seifert’s piece, which was initially headlined “CFL would welcome Manziel, says commissioner” but has since been changed, brought so much attention to the league that a quick retraction from the league’s commissioner, Jeffrey Orridge, came swiftly.

But all this talk is about whether Manziel would be welcome or not is really pointless because, much like a former Florida Gator, Denver Bronco, New York Jet and New England Patriot and Philadelphia Eagle, Johnny Manizel is probably never going to step foot on a CFL field any time soon even he does sign with a CFL team.

Forget his personal issues for a second and just look at the rosters themselves. Which team does Johnny Manziel suddenly sign with and instantly become the team’s starting quarterback?

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have his negotiation rights, but if anyone out there thinks he is usurping Zach Collaros’ position, they are on glue; Toronto has an aging Ricky Ray, but Johnny Football is not taking his job this season or next; Ottawa is more than happy with Trevor Harris as their starter for the next half decade or more and still have Henry Burris hanging around; and while it would be typical of Jim Popp to bring a guy like Manziel in, he just traded away a first-round pick for a big-name NCAA quarterback earlier this year in Vernon Adams. So unless Popp is truly crazy, he is not making a move to bring Johnny Football to Montreal.

Out west, we have Calgary and Edmonton who, c’mon, get real. BC has the great tandem of Jonathon Jennings and Travis Lulay, so they’ll pass. Winnipeg will be in need of a starter, maybe, but Manziel is not taking Matt Nichols’ job nor would he take Drew Willy’s. That leaves Saskatchewan, which desperately needs a QB of the future, but Darian Durant has played well this season and still has a few more years left in him (even if they aren’t in Saskatchewan).

So the tally is two, maybe three, teams that would even have interest in Johnny Football and none of which would hand him the keys to the franchise the second he walked in the door.

And we haven’t even gotten into his style of play which, while exciting to watch when he was at Texas A&M and helped him win the Heisman trophy his redshirt freshman year in 2012, does not translate to the pro level. He is a much better fit than Tim Tebow ever would be, but he is just the latest in a long line of NFL busts that are getting the “Go to Canada and save your career” advice.

Chip Kelly gave that very advice to Tim Tebow about a year ago after he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles.

But that is just not how it works. CFL teams are not just sitting here waiting for NFL quarterbacks to get released so they can immediately insert them into the starting lineup. And the only way a guy like Manziel, and before him Tebow, would ever improve their game is to get reps and that just won’t happen.

American sports outlets really need to stop talking as if the latest big-name NFL flameout will suddenly find a starting job waiting for him in Canada.

Because he won’t.

Josh Smith 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.