Johnny Football has been cleared to put his Johnny Hancock on a CFL contract.
Just what that contract will look like could be intriguing.
While many American players coming to the CFL sign for the league minimum – $54,000 in 2018 – Manziel is unique. And there happens to be a recent player whose deal could provide a template for Manziel and the Ticats: former Saskatchewan Roughrider pivot Vince Young.
Young was a former first-round pick who, like Manziel, had been out of football for a while. The 34-year-old signed a standard one-year deal plus a team-held option with a base salary of $120,000 for both years, $15,000 in housing and another possible $71,000 in playtime bonuses and incentives, including $9,000 ($500 per game) for being the second QB on the depth chart. Young did not receive any up front money meaning the Riders could release him in training camp without paying anything. That’s exactly what happened.
Manziel is a former first-round pick who has not played a down since 2015. He turned 25 in December and wants a chance to play his way back to the NFL so a one-plus-one contract is likely appealing. He has few football options remaining so that will severely limit his bargaining power. Manziel may be able to land a small signing bonus, however.
Young did have more NFL experience before coming north, starting 50 games with a 30-17 win-loss record and two Pro Bowl selections. Manziel enters the CFL having eight NFL starts on his resume posting a 2-6 mark. Each man had a 74.4 passer rating in the NFL and both were last members of the Cleveland Browns.
Manziel representatives – agent Erik Burkhardt handles the embattled quarterback – can make the point that their client brings increased exposure to the Ticats or any other potential CFL team and therefore a bump in revenue. Although, the most important factor to remember: all that Hamilton has to offer is a minimum salary deal. If he rejects it then the Ticats keep Manziel’s exclusive rights for a year, which would be detrimental and delay Johnny Football getting another NFL shot.
Manziel’s net worth was around $4 million in 2017 – Young’s is estimated at $1.5 million. The opportunity to get back on the field might trump monetary considerations for “Money Manziel”.