Bo Levi Mitchell’s contract with Ticats worth up to $1.62 million over three years

Photo courtesy: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Bo Levi Mitchell’s new contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is set to pay him as much as $1.62 million over the course of its three-year duration.

The nearly 33-year-old quarterback received a $300,000 signing bonus after making the deal official. He is also set to take home $175,700 in base salary, $13,800 in housing, $5,000 for travel, and $7,500 for mandatory appearances in 2023, bringing his hard money total to $502,000. He’ll receive an additional $1,000 bonus anytime he plays more than 51 percent of Hamilton’s offensive snaps in a game, capping his potential earnings in year one at $520,000.

The agreement is expected to make Mitchell the second-highest-paid player in the CFL this season. Only Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ quarterback Zach Collaros, the league’s back-to-back Most Outstanding Player, is currently set to make more with an average annual value of $600,000.

Mitchell’s contract includes off-season roster bonuses of $175,000 due on January 15, 2024 and January 15, 2025. His base salary increases to $320,700 in the second year of the deal and $340,700 in the third year of the deal. With his housing, travel allowance, mandatory appearances and playtime money remaining the same over the course of the three-year pact, the pivot will take home a maximum of $540,000 in 2024 and $560,000 in 2025.

There are no long-term guarantees included in the new contract. The league’s new collective bargaining agreement allows teams to guarantee up to half the salary in the final year of multi-year contract extensions provided the player re-signs with their existing team. Hamilton traded for Mitchell’s exclusive negotiating rights before the expiration of his previous deal but was ineligible to provide him with guaranteed salary as he wasn’t a member of their team for the past two seasons.

Mitchell joined the Calgary Stampeders fresh out of college in 2012 and became the full-time starter two years later. He became the franchise’s all-time leading passer in 2022 and has thrown for 32,541 yards with 188 touchdowns and 89 interceptions over his 10-year career.

The Eastern Washington product has won two Grey Cups as the Stampeders’ starter, taking home the Most Valuable Player award in both games. He was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player in both 2016 and 2018 but has since struggled to regain his form after suffering several injuries.

Mitchell was plagued by a shoulder injury throughout the 2021 season, which contributed to him throwing for 2,594 yards with 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The veteran passer completed 61.3 percent of his passes this past season for 2,010 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions, going 6-3 as a starter before being replaced by 25-year-old Jake Maier.

The Stampeders traded their former franchise pivot to Hamilton in November, swapping draft picks to acquire an exclusive negotiating window with the future Hall of Famer. Despite repeatedly expressing a desire to test free agency, the Ticats’ subsequent sales job worked in convincing Mitchell to forego the open market.

While legacy, stability and the chance at another Grey Cup were Mitchell’s primary motivations, Hamilton did their best to sweeten the pot financially. After earning just under $455,000 a year ago in Calgary, he received a possible $65,000 raise by moving to the East Division and will make more than Maier who supplanted him in Calgary.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.