Johnny Manziel: Ticats needed to offer a “fair deal”

Quarterback Johnny Manziel says The Spring League was the leverage he and his agent used when trying to get a “fair deal” from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Erik Burkhardt issued a public ultimatum to the Ticats in early January, saying the team had until the end of the month to offer his client a contract “on par with what Hamilton has paid their QB in recent years, despite not having much on-field success,” a number that would have put him in upper reaches of the CFL pay scale.

The statement also alluded to “several other professional options readily available to us” should they not be able to get a deal done. Manziel subsequently announced earlier this month that he’d be playing in The Spring League from March 28 to April 15 this year.

“This is what me and Erik talked about, we have options, offer us a fair deal or we have other stuff that we’ll do, and we’ll try and do it this way and then we’ll go from there,” Manziel said on The ThomaHawk Show with former Browns teammates Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins (a CFL alum).

“For me, it’s a great opportunity to be able to get a couple games on film in the spring, which I can’t do anywhere else. Everything else is fall based in the options that I had.”

The Spring League, which had its inaugural season in 2017, bills itself as an “elite developmental league and scouting event for professional football talent” that aims to “provide additional opportunities for players who may have been overlooked by the NFL.” It will play a four-game season in Austin, Texas – Manziel is from nearby Tyler and played his college football at Texas A&M.

“For me, it’s an opportunity to go out and show that for the last three months I’ve been working my ass off six days a week for four hours a day,” Manziel said.

“To show people I’m six foot, 210-215 pounds, I’m in great shape, I can run, I can throw. I’m 25 years old with a huge bag of experience and mistakes to learn from in the past.”

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