Quarterback Johnny Manziel says he’s signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and while there’s been no official confirmation from the team – it’s expected later today – here are three things worth knowing.
1. Manziel is extremely unlikely to be the starter.
The Ticats have Jeremiah Masoli firmly entrenched as the No. 1 quarterback and Manziel will be competing for the back up job with Vernon Adams, Bryant Moniz and Dane Evans. But head coach June Jones said in January that Manziel would have to beat out Masoli if he showed up. “He’s a very talented guy,” Jones said about Manziel in January. “But I feel very strongly about Jeremiah Masoli, he’ll have to beat him out. I think we can win a Grey Cup with Jeremiah.”
2. He’s probably not making a ton of money.
While contract details aren’t released publicly in the CFL, the typical salary for a back up can vary substantially (the league minimum is $54,000.) One possible template for Manziel’s deal might be the one signed former Saskatchewan Roughrider pivot Vince Young last year. As reported by 3Down’s Justin Dunk, the then-34-year-old Young 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.
3. Quarterbacks coming into the CFL rarely light it up right away.
There are plenty of examples of former U.S. college stars coming to Canada and flaming out, including former Heisman winners Troy Smith and Eric Crouch. Even a Hall-of-Famer like Doug Flutie struggled in his first year playing in 16 games, making eight starts, with a 52.8 completion percentage and throwing 16 touchdowns against 19 interceptions. Warren Moon’s first year in Edmonton in 1979: 15 games, 1,112 yards, five touchdowns, seven interceptions.