CFL forces Alouettes to release QB Johnny Manziel; league won’t register contract

The Montreal Alouettes have been directed by the CFL to release quarterback Johnny Manziel after it was found that he contravened the agreement which made him eligible to play in the league.

The CFL has informed all of its member clubs that it will not register a contract for Manziel should any franchise attempt to sign him.

“We are disappointed by this turn of events. Johnny was provided a great deal of support by our organization, in collaboration with the CFL, but he has been unable to abide by the terms of his agreement,” general manager Kavis Reed said in a statement. “We worked with the league and presented alternatives to Johnny, who was unwilling to proceed.”

In December, 2017, the league issued a statement which said it had been engaged in a thorough process to determine the eligibility of Manziel, whose CFL rights were held by Hamilton at the time. That process included an assessment by an independent expert on domestic violence (the CFL has a formal policy on violence against women), a review by legal counsel, and an in-person discussion conducted by the commissioner.

The league stated then that it was prepared to approve a contract for Manziel provided one was negotiated and he continued to meet a number of conditions set by the league. While these conditions are confidential, out of respect for laws governing personal privacy, they are extensive and exacting.

Manziel was due an off-season bonus of $75,000 from the Als on March 1. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner could have made $202,000 in base salary with $18,000 housing and $150,000 more is possible from playtime incentives. That money had been available on the final year of Manziel’s two-year contract originally signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last May.

Manziel was acquired in a blockbuster in-season trade last year when the Alouettes sent Canadian defensive end Jamaal Westerman, receiver Chris Williams and two first round draft picks to the Ticats for the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.

Montreal made the deal for Manziel to become the starting quarterback for the Als. He passed for 1,290 yards, five touchdowns versus seven interceptions and rushed 29 times for 215 yards ending the season 2-6 as Montreal’s starter. Manziel had not thrown a pass in a pro game since December 2015 and coming to Canada was his comeback to football.