Bo Levi Mitchell was candid about the potential of chasing an NFL roster spot on a recent CFL Horsemen podcast.
“I talked with Huf [John Hufnagel] halfway through the season and let him know what I was thinking. Honestly, the CBA is going to play the most into it. This CBA is not going to get done until May. So if there are guys out there with NFL interest they can all go try,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell was 24-of-36 passing for 253 yards with two touchdowns in the 2018 Grey Cup win over Ottawa 27-16 earning game MVP honours. During the regular season, Mitchell quarterbacked the Stamps to a 13-5 record and led the CFL with 35 TD passes despite seeing his receiving corps turn over drastically due to injuries. Mitchell won the CFL’s most outstanding player award in 2018 for the second time in his career.
“I’ve loved my time here. It’s tough to leave a great situation, but that’s also complacency. I want to be the best to ever play here and I can’t do that if I go sit on the bench for three years. I’ve told Huf the only way I would ever go is if there was a chance to go get a starting job,” Mitchell said.
“If I can go compete for a starting job and I see the respect and the value from the other team and they’re showing me how much they want me…I’m not going to sign a contract with zero signing bonus to have a cup of coffee just to say that I played in the NFL and I can have a couple pairs of shorts and a shirt, sitting at home one day getting fat I can be like ‘yeah I played for this team’. That’s not what I do, I’m a competitor.”
Current Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson spent two seasons in the NFL as a quarterback 2001 with the San Diego Chargers then 2002 bouncing between the Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions.
“Dave got cut right before his third year was over and the reason is because of pension. The team that you’re on after that third year, that’s who has to pay your pension for the rest of your life. So a team has to take that into consideration: is this a guy that we want to pay this much money for the rest of his life, no, alright cut,” Mitchell said.
“It’s conversations I’ve had with Dave, I’ve had with Jeff [Garcia], I’ve had with Doug [Flutie], it works out for some, it doesn’t work out for others. How did Henry Burris not stay in the NFL? Who has a better arm than that guy? It’s a conundrum on who they like and who they don’t. If I’m valued to that point where a team wants me to come in and compete for a starting job I have to try it, but if not I want to be wearing red and white.”
Mitchell has studied up and knows he would have to sign a three-year undrafted free agent contract, which is for the league minimum salary $480,000 in year one increasing by $75,000 each season.
“Jeff did it right, but those are few and far between. The moment you get your shot you have to go ball out and if not you won’t be there. I believe I’m the guy that I can take advantage of my shot when it’s given to me. But I also have that chip on my shoulder with the NFL, that I didn’t get drafted, I didn’t get looked at in that way,” Mitchell said.
“I owe the CFL a lot, I owe the Calgary Stampeders a lot, it’s a place I love, I want to play for this team for a very long time, the future will decide whether or not that changes.”