TSN analyst Glen Suitor says there’s “talk” that the Montreal Alouettes will sign quarterback Johnny Manziel to a contract extension – with massive dollars attached.
Suitor, speaking to David Pratt on TSN 1040 in Vancouver on Wednesday, said the quarterback situation in Montreal is ” the most unusual quarterbacking situation I’ve seen in years,” before offering up this nugget.
“They’re thinking in Montreal that Manziel may sign an extension next year. If the money is around the $400,000 to $500,000 to $600,000 range where quarterbacks can make in the Canadian Football League, there is talk that he may signal extension and stay in the CFL for longer than people thought he was.”
Manziel’s current contract paid him a $10,000 signing bonus with $122,000 in base salary, $18,000 in housing allowance and $10,000 bonuses for being on the active roster for six, 10 and 14 games as well as an extra $120,000 if he plays half the team’s snaps (which he won’t hit.) He has a $75,000 roster bonus due on March 1 with a $202,000 base salary and the same incentives for 2018.
Given that Manziel has started just two games this season (both losses), completed 59 per cent of his passes and thrown four interceptions against zero touchdowns, the idea of signing Manziel to an extension that would pay him Mike Reilly money – especially given that they have him under contract for 2019 at a semi-reasonable number – seems implausible at best.
The only way a new contract might make sense: a restructured deal that takes the roster bonus off the books while also giving Manziel what he covets most: an NFL option window, which was re-introduced by the CFL last month but does not apply retroactively. Still, even if Manziel tears it up in Montreal’s final six games – by no means a certainty – giving him elite starter money would still be an insane risk.
Suitor’s more salient point was that the Alouettes have to get a sense of whether Manziel can play in the CFL and that’s why he’s playing this week over Antonio Pipkin.
“If that’s the case, then Montreal has to find out what they’ve got, if he can become the Johnny Manziel we saw in college… Have you ever seen a quarterback get the starting job without earning it from a quarterback that is 2-1 in his starting audition?”
And Suitor’s right about that: the Alouettes do need find out what they have in Manziel, if only to determine whether they want to shell out $75,000 in March. But paying him big bucks? Certainly, the Alouettes can’t be considering that.