Calgary Stampeders general manager John Hufnagel and head coach Dave Dickenson are used to working against the clock and so is quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell.
January 15 looms as the three men try to come together on a redone contract for the two-time Grey Cup champion. That’s when Mitchell is due to collect a $100,000 roster bonus within the four-year contract he signed in February 2019 and then restructured in December 2020.
The final season of the deal also currently includes a $100,000 roster bonus on March 15, $25,000 for reporting and passing his medical at training camp, a $2,000 travel allowance and $500 available per game in the form of active roster payments for playing one play, all totalling $525,000.
According to sources, the Stamps have asked Mitchell to rework his salary to allow the red and white to keep him under contract and leading the franchise, while Jake Maier continues to develop. After the 2021 season, Dave Dickenson went on record saying he wants to keep coaching Mitchell.
For Dickenson’s words to become reality the dollars need to line-up for both sides. At the moment, the two-time CFL MOP is slated to be the second-highest paid player in the three-down league. The money is well worth it for the most decorated QB still slinging the ball in Canada although Hufnagel has been known to be prudent with his funds.
Mitchell has the best winning percentage (.777) in CFL history with an 84-22-2 record. Even though the 31-year-old broke his leg during the first week of the shortened 14-game schedule, he was able to produce a 7-4 win-loss mark and put Calgary in the playoffs for a seventh straight season with him as the starting quarterback.
All of his statistics to date have been tallied with the white horses: 147 games played, 65 percent completion percentage, 30,531 passing yards, 179 touchdowns, 83 interceptions, 162 carries, 746 yards, 14 rushing touchdowns and 4.6 yards per carry. Mitchell is less than 2,000 yards away from passing Henry Burris for the all-time franchise lead in yards through the air.
There were critics of Mitchell and his surgically repaired right throwing shoulder calling for a curtain call after he was intercepted a CFL-high 13 times in 2021. However, No. 19 remains the Stampeders best quarterback option to win and compete for the Grey Cup. Maier flashed intriguing potential, but he needs refining before the reins are handed to him.
The Katy, TX native had two full seasons to learn until he was tabbed by Dickenson and Hufnagel as QB1 for the Stamps. It could be an ideal succession plan for Calgary at the most important position in football, but Mitchell can still prove he’s not ready to ride off into the sunset with a fresh agreement in Calgary.