Calgary Stampeders general manager John Hufnagel is thinking positively about re-signing quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell.
“We’re talking, I’m very optimistic something will get done. I just don’t know when. I have a budget with Bo Levi, now I said I’m optimistic, does it fit the budget? We’ll have to see,” Hufnagel said.
“It’s been a very confusing, stressful type of couple weeks, but you just have to deal with it, that’s the way the game is right now. That’s why I’m leaning toward being optimistic that Bo will be a Stampeder and I’m conducting business as if he will be. Bo is a cornerstone.”
The Stamps have been vocal about their desire to re-sign Mitchell but both head coach Dave Dickenson and Hufnagel have said there’s a sense of urgency with regards to a decision surrounding CFL free agency on Feb. 12, But sources say Mitchell may want to test free agency and find out what his value is north or the border.
Mitchell capped yet another stellar season in 2018 by leading the Stamps to a CFL championship. The 28-year-old became the first player in league history to throw for more than 5,000 yards without having a single receiver record 1,000 yards. Despite an ever-changing receiving core, Mitchell adapted on the fly and still led the CFL in touchdown passes with 35.
Mitchell worked out for seven NFL teams in December and a handful of CFL players have already signed free agent contracts down south. But a few of the NFL teams intrigued by Mitchell have undergone changes on their coaching staffs or already have quarterback situations that may not be ideal for a player looking for an opportunity.
“I’m not quite sure about the signing down south, I don’t think the interest is as strong today as it was possibly when he was doing all the workouts,” Hufnagel said. ”
Mitchell has two Grey Cups, two CFL title game MVP awards and two CFL MOP trophies on his resume. The 29-year-old originally signed with Calgary in 2012, spent that season as the third-string quarterback. Mitchell started his first CFL game in 2013 and earned the full-time number one quarterback role in 2014. Hufnagel is working to keep the face of the franchise in Calgary.
“I just think right now we need to establish where we can go, what he wants,” Hufnagel said. “He’s going to set the bar out there with the quarterbacks. I have a good number, I’m hoping that number works. I have I think a fair figure budgeted for Bo.”