The Calgary Stampeders have traded American quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2023 CFL Draft, a fifth-round pick in 2024 CFL Draft, and future considerations.
“We spoke to other teams and Hamilton expressed interest in acquiring Bo’s playing rights in advance of free agency,” said Stampeders’ president and general manager John Hufnagel in a statement. “We are very grateful to Bo for everything he has done for the Stampeders over the past 11 years and wish he and his family all the best.”
Mitchell is set to become a free agent in February 2023. This trade will allow the Ticats to exclusively negotiate a potential contract extension for next season and possibly beyond.
For everything the past 11 years, thank you Bo ❤️ pic.twitter.com/d5kOU0aycA
— Calgary Stampeders (@calstampeders) November 14, 2022
The 32-year-old made it clear that he intended to test free agency after Jake Maier, who replaced him as the team’s starting quarterback in August, signed a contract extension to remain with the Stampeders through 2024.
Mitchell was plagued by a shoulder injury throughout the 2021 season, which contributed to him throwing for 2,594 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. He believes his shoulder has since fully healed and intends to be a full-time starter in the CFL next season.
The two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player entered the game late in Calgary’s regular season finale against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a 36-10 victory that meant nothing in the standings. He received a standing ovation from the fans in Calgary in his final farewell as a member of the Stampeders at McMahon Stadium.
He took the field again in the West Semi-Final in relief of Maier with his team trailing 20-6 in the fourth quarter. He engineered an 81-yard drive that ended in a 24-yard field goal by Rene Paredes and drove team 71 yards on its next possession, resulting in a one-yard touchdown run by Tommy Stevens.
Mitchell said goodbye to Calgary in an Instagram post the day after the team was eliminated from the postseason, thanking fans and his teammates for all of their support. He spoke glowingly about the organization long after being benched in favour of Maier and is interested in working with head coach Dave Dickenson again in the future.
The Eastern Washington product signed with the Stampeders fresh out of college in 2012 and became the club’s full-time starter two years later. He became Calgary’s all-time leading passer earlier this year and has thrown for 32,541 yards, 188 touchdowns, and 89 interceptions over his 10-year career.
Dane Evans struggled in his first full season as the undisputed starter of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, calling it the “toughest mental year of sports” in his life. He threw for 3,883 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions to go 6-9 as a starter, including the postseason. He also led the CFL in fumbles.
As per 3DownNation‘s John Hodge, Evans made approximately $430,000 in 2022 and is scheduled to make approximately $455,000 in 2023. If the Ticats are able to sign Mitchell to a contract extension, the constraints of the salary cap will likely require the team to release Evans or significantly restructure his contract.