Milton: Ticats will get something from Manziel, one way or another

While head coach June Jones has said Johnny Manziel has the ability to become the best player in CFL history, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats can take their time signing him to a contract.

They just can’t take more than 10 days to offer him that contract.

After announcing Thursday that the high-profile American quarterback will be allowed to sign with the Tiger-Cats, should they so desire, the CFL explained that the team has 10 days from tomorrow — deadline noon, Jan. 7 — to present him a contract proposal.

If they don’t, they lose the right to keep Manziel on their negotiation list and he’ll become a free agent.

Jones, like Kent Austin and the rest of Ticat management, wasn’t available for comment Thursday, but you can bet that won’t happen. An organization doesn’t go this far, this deep, to suddenly walk away with nothing to show for it.

So we’re likely to hear sometime next week that Manziel has been offered a contract. At the very least, that would keep Manziel on the Tiger-Cats’ neg list for up to a year. If he doesn’t like the proposal, the two sides can negotiate. But according to a league official, in the last 12 years, no player who was offered a contract has remained the full year on that team’s negotiation list. They sign, or get traded.

So, it’s a lock that Manziel gets an offer but not necessarily that he will be in black and gold this spring despite Jones’s heavy endorsement and Austin saying he “has one of the single greatest highlight films of any college football player I’ve ever seen.”

Remember, hyperbole didn’t make the cut for the Seven Deadly Sins.

Like Ambrosie’s decision to thoroughly review Manziel’s off-field problems (domestic violence charge, an NFL substance-abuse suspension, the parade of public partying) before allowing Hamilton to sign him, a contract offer buys the Ticats time to firm up quarterbacking plans.

Former starter Zach Collaros is under a big contract and the Ticats would like to trade him, while Jeremiah Masoli, whom Jones promoted to starter in late August, and No. 3 pivot Everett Golson both become free agents in mid-February.

Masoli may seek more money than the Ticats think he’s proven he’s worth, but that’s a common equation. Jones wants him back and landing spots for free agent quarterbacks are reducing.

Still, he’s not signed.

A lot of cyber chat assumes that if the Cats sign Manziel, in February, Masoli walks to Montreal where a decent arm and the ability to breathe gets you a job. But, maybe it’s Manziel who goes there, via trade. New Montreal head coach Mike Sherman helped lured Manziel to A&M in 2011 after he’d committed to Oregon which, ironically, Masoli had left only a year earlier.

Plus there’s talk the XFL will start up again and Vince McMahon won’t care whose on what negotiation list.

On a broader scale, do the Ticats really want the menagerie of American media who’d storm the barricades if Manziel signs here? They’d follow Manziel to his living quarters, and would hound fans, not to mention Jones and Austin.

There’s also a possible backlash from a portion of their fan base.

The blue sky scenario would have the Ticats signing Manziel and Masoli, committing out loud to Masoli as the 2018 starter, and quietly working Manziel back into playing shape—he hasn’t played since late December 2015 with the Browns—while massaging his head as it tries to absorb the quirks and quirks of CFL football. But there’s no mention of ‘quietly’ on Manziel’s CV.

The Tiger-Cats have been notoriously slow starters and face two opening games in the wastelands of Alberta, but they can hit the ground running if they’re able to concentrate on recapturing what they found in the autumn. Would a Manziel arrival, no matter how much he’s changed, allow for that concentration?

The approval to sign him is just the start of this story.

Steve Milton

Steve Milton

Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.
Steve Milton
Steve Milton
About Steve Milton (244 Articles)
Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.

43 Comments on Milton: Ticats will get something from Manziel, one way or another

  1. Really hope Johnny Football Manziel ends up in Montreal. I think he and his wife would enjoy the city more than Hamilton – as they say Happy Wife Happy Life. With Sherman being there and Manziel as the starting QB it would rekick Montreal’s excitement for the Als again and give the entire league a needed boost in the east.

    • Enjoy the city? he’s there to play football, not clubbing or sight seeing. Like many players it’s likely he leaves his wife in the US for 6 months, especially if he has kids in school.
      Montreal and Toronto both need to sell tickets, a player like Manziel could bring in more fans.

  2. Eddiefelson // December 28, 2017 at 9:09 pm //

    Hey Milton : quote your source on “the ticats want to trade” collaros…or retract your OPINION

    • Carrie Cueto // December 28, 2017 at 9:58 pm //

      Dude, why you get so heated with your goofy CAPITALS ?!? I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that Collaros’ days in Hamilton are numbered. It would stand to reason that the TiCats would prefer to get something for that diminishing asset, via the trade, as opposed to giving Collaros his outright release. Perhaps you need to pop a sedative. On another note, I hope the TiCats do what is right for the franchise and not be cowed by the puritans & self righteous moralists who clearly influenced their decision to fire an innocent Art Briles. That situation was shameful & laughable while showing the lack of resolve in the TiCat leadership. Hopefully, the same won’t happen with Manziel.

      • Writing was on the wall for Collaros when he was the official clip board holder for those meaningless games at the end of last season. Bottom line is that should the TC’s start winning with Manziel at the helm I would bet a pound of the finest Beach Road kielbasa that those so called “moralists” would all of a sudden develop a case of amnesia.

        • The moralists – including the 3D writers – already have amnesia. They are all guilty of the same crime that Briles is accused of. They are willing to ignore a little domestic abuse as long as the player can help the team. Hypocrisy. Josh Smith was the lead Puritan. Time for him to step up.

          • Carrie Cueto // December 29, 2017 at 10:40 am //

            Not sure what your nonsensical post is trying to communicate to the masses. Perhaps you should pursue a GED before posting here.

          • I always seem to agree with you Amicus. In my opinion letting Zach go will come back to haunt us for years just like Anthony in Montreal. On the other hand trading Manziel a guy 2 season out of football for 2 season so he can leave for the NFL if (big if) he plays well up here makes much more sence. Get something for a guy who might do nothing in this league. Manziel needs to learn our game, get in game shape that could take his entire first year. Just cause he was good in college years ago is no guarantee he will play well in the CFL. He had a non spectacular pro career in the states. Everyone here needs to respect the fact these are personal opinions and none of us are experts. Carrie whatever your name is you need to understand that youre making yourself look worse than the horse on here. Its people like you that ruin this type of social interaction try having an adult discussion instead of insulting everyone.

      • Dundas dude // December 29, 2017 at 11:31 am //

        Well said, except for the ad hominem “pop a sedative”.

        Masoli is coming in to his own and it would be a big gamble for him to go to another team and system. Manziel deserves a chance and if he can take this team over the top, even better. Having three potential starting qbs is not a bad problem to have.

        The world is becoming more judgemental, self righteous and nasty…wouldn’t Hamilton love a good story of redemption ( thrown in with a Cup or two)!

      • Don’t worry about it CC…I think Abacus has been swilling too much eggnog. And Gurney needs to lose his fantasy about Collaros. That ship has sailed…plain and simple. Time to move onward…Masoli, Manziel or whoever.

    • Agree have never heard any comment about wanting to trade Zach.

  3. Billinburlington // December 29, 2017 at 12:52 am //

    “Remember, hyperbole didn’t make the cut for the Seven Deadly Sins”.

    Mr. Milton, you get my vote for the best line in any sports story published in Canada in 2017. Thank you for your insightful contributions to 3downnation.

  4. I’m a life long TiCat fan but in my opinion, Johnny Football would have a much bigger impact on the Als and their fans. Draft picks ( a one and a three) and a starting Canadian would be fine with me in a trade.

    • Carrie Cueto // December 29, 2017 at 10:38 am //

      Agreed, that is good compensation, but for Zach Collaros, not Manziel. The way must be tried with Manziel. It would be a PR nightmare if Manziel goes to another organization and excels. Besides, not sure if you can afford tickets, but as a season ticket holder I can tell you that Tim Hortons Field sat half empty for many games last season. No, no my foolish friend … Bob Young needs Johnny Football’s name on a contract to sell seats, merchandise etc.

      • The whole irony is that Manziel has a better chance of becoming the “next Cavillo” then the 1.5 m dollar man ever will. I agree, it would indeed be a nightmare if he were to go to another organization and light it up…and the potential is certainly there!

        • keep in mind Johnny will only be in the league for at most 2 seasons, Zach on the other hand will play out his career in the CFL. So if you are going to compare anyone to Cavillo it will be him. I think the Cats would be stupid to trade away Collaros for an unproven product and a guy who really wants nothing to do with this league but make his way back down south. Trade his rights to Montreal and get something for him before he proves himself worthless.

          • We’ll always disagree on this and that’s fine…opinions are just that…opinions. Thing is, we really don’t know what Manziel’s intent is, albeit we can logically speculate. Which would point in the direction of him trying get another shot in the NFL. But again, we can’t say for sure what hi intention is in fact. Don’t know about you but 1999 was a long time ago…if this guy Manziel can step in and light it up and lead his team to a GC or 2 before he bolts to the NFL (like Warren Moon) so be it.

    • That would be a great trade for the TCs, but Montreal can get a proven starting QB for a starting Canadian plus two high draft picks – they can’t afford to spend that on Manziel, who has a one or two year life expectancy (optimistically)

  5. Ladies and Gentlemen!
    STEP RIGHT UP – the 3-ring circus continues!
    Masoli – Collaros – Manziel
    Who will be the team’s QB in 2018???

    When will this get settled, if ever???

    Hard to renew/sell season tickets when the circus is in town.

    Steve or Drew, how about a story on how season ticket sales for next season are going?

  6. Eddiefelson // December 29, 2017 at 12:24 pm //

    Perhaps you should learn about self rightous moralists before telling someone they need a sedative for one capitalized word.
    The man stated an opinion- I asked him to be a man and quote his sources.
    Yes we will probably lose the best q.b. in the league….but I will do my part to ensure he isnt run out of town by guesses.
    Now maybe its time for your pill?

    • Carrie Cueto // December 29, 2017 at 12:44 pm //

      What, in the blue hell, are you talking about. ?!? Your post makes no sense and is suggestive of one with mental health issues. Perhaps you should call a crisis line or see a counsellor if your dead end job allows for such things as benefits. And you never, even forget the name of …. Carrie Cueto !!!

      • Angelo, how many pseudonyms do you have? Still dishing the abuse on anyone who disagrees with you. Manziel will never play in Hamilton, Art Briles or not. Collaros and Masoli will both be in the Black & Gold in 2018. Watching the resurgence falling Kent Austin’s decision to step down, I have a lot of faith in how things are being run in Tigertown.

        • That is one scenario.

          Personally, I would be surprised if Collaros is with Hamilton in 2018.

          I would also be surprised if Manziel never plays for Hamilton. Stranger things have happened … time will tell.

  7. Lol…if you caught every player doing things that were illegal or not allowed by the league or morally not acceptable you would have no league and I can bet that goes for most professional leagues. The stunned few of you who compare the manziel to briles need to get you head out of your ass! Remember folks these kids that play this game are mostly 20 something year old men who are growing up and making the same mistakes we did and our kids do except these young men are in the spotlight and their dirty laundry usually gets aired out like in the case of Mr. Manziel but like most of us we grow up and learn from our mistakes. hopefully johnny has done the same ! So instead of bashing this guy give him a chance !

    • Well said Randy. I would bet some of these people who profess ultra moralist ideals are the same people you see at the produce section of the grocery store shoving “sample” grapes into their pie holes claiming there’s nothing wrong with it.

  8. ticats63 totally agree and it would be great to have a story on the rate of season ticket sales. The Ticat silence on Manziel currently speaks wonders as this usually indicates that there are developments under way behind the scenes. I would bet that Manziel is already signed sealed and delivered. Coach Jones indicated a few weeks ago that the quarterback situation would be resolved in the next couple of weeks. Think of the exposure Manziel brings not only in Canada but right across the US and the marketplace of curious US fans that will become new fans of the CFL and the entire TV marketplace that this opens up. No wonder MLSE wanted the Argos, there is a huge untapped marketplace that Manziel brings with him. Not just ticket sales which will not only be in Hamilton but in each and every CFL stadium that Hamilton plays in. Think of the run on Ticat number 2 jerseys which likely will be on high demand. Think of the endorsements Manziel will earn and the other top notch players that he may draw from the NCAA and the entire US for that matter exposing our league on a level that it has never been exposed. This is a win win for not only the TigerCats but the CFl as a whole. It is time that Kent Austin come clean with TigerTown and formally announce the direction the team is going in as it is obvious to most of us.

  9. Well said Ari Katz!

  10. Lindsay Wilcox // December 29, 2017 at 6:52 pm //

    Nearly everything said by anyone is just their opinion, and nobody can argue with that. One can argue with the reasons for that opinion. E.g. – you ask someone is who the greatest NHL player of all time. He says e.g. “Eddie Shack” – and that is his opinion and nothing wrong with that. However , if he were to add “…because he scored the most goals”- that supposedly factual basis can be attacked because there are plenty of documents re who scored the most NHL goals – whether or not that is the criterion for “…the best…” is a debate for another day.

    As a former 45 year season ticket holder – had to give them up due to lack of adequate close parking for seniors- I would hate to think Ticats would go down the Road the Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgos used to – the big announcement of the big signing in the off-season >>>> speculation re Grey Cup win already signed, sealed, and delivered. IMO, Ticats should trade Manziel to highest bidder. If he is signed here after the Briles affair, there would be a huge backlash from women’s groups, some sponsors, and some/many fans. And Zach should go to the next highest bidder. And all the $$$ saved should be divided u to keep 3 cornerstones of 2017 offence – Masoli, Tasker, Banks.

    • Little known fact: Who is the only player to score 20 or more goals in a season with FIVE different NHL teams?
      None other than Eddie Shack!

  11. After everything to get Johnny to the CFL just to offer him a contract to keep him on the neg list for another year is a farce. Either sign him to a deal that makes him and the TiCats happy or trade him to another team that will do just that. Holding him in limbo by offering a contract he will not be happy with is wrong. Let him get on in his career wherever possible in the CFL.

    • Didn’t the Cats make a similar mistake by signing Collaros while injured to a three year extension?

      Manziel does not have a lot of other options while being unproven so while better than league minimum might be good, spending a fortune for someone who may take a while to play regularly does not make sense. Or maybe a smaller salary with playing bonus money.

  12. Those who worry that Zac will set the league on fire if he is released/traded to another team and become a legend just as Calvillo did, well he didn’t do it in Hamilton and yes it seems they have improved their offensive line with the addition of 2 tackles during the course of the 2017 season but do you go with Zach and his high contract and then what sign Masoli to another moderately proiced deal or go with 2 moderately priced contracts ( Masoli and Manziel and use the extra cash available to improve in other areas) ? Zach had a great season up until his injury but has not shown in any games in 2017 the ability to return to that level of play so it seems unlikely that Zach remains a ticat….If he has success elsewhere good for him…say many years ago the Ottawa Rough Riders had 2 quarterbacks named Jackson and Lancaster and they dealt Lancaster , both guys had outstanding CFL careers and helped their teams to win Grey Cups, so why can’t this scenario be the one we hope for ….if Ticats keep Masoli he is a known while essentially Manziel brings potential based on an outstanding college career…. yes Manziel has had some negative stuff in the past but he has dealt with that as he was required to by the league , should someone have to pay forever past mistakes…. are these groups that are supposedly opposed to signing Manziel gonna buy any tickets? …not likely …when I was in my season ticket seat I never heard from one fan around me that they would not renew if Manziel is signed… instead the talk was if they don’t get better play out of the quarterback position fans were talking about not signing for next year….so what happened ? Masoli stepped in, the team went 6-4 and I renewed my tickets because the potential for the team to be better was there….having Masoli and Manziel as the 2 quarterbacks in camp only increases that potential…. bring on the M & Ms !

  13. It would be really stupid to the Tiger Cats trade him. This guy could win a Grey Cup

  14. I would bet real money that upon his CFL return Derel Walker follows Johnny Football no matter what team he goes to. So whoever makes the deal with Manziel gets the other Texas A&M product in the CFL and someone who is defending Manziel on twitter.

  15. Jason Gult // December 30, 2017 at 8:16 pm //

    Oh man that sucks for Johnny – you know your career is over when you have to play in the CFL….

    • Dude he played for the Browns and sucked out loud, his career was over then. The CFL is an upgrade from the empty wasteland that are 16 teams like the Browns with no chance in hell of ever being good. The NFL should split into two leagues again the Penal Football Leauge and the Social Justice Leauge. That way fans can choose which one to ignore in the states.

  16. If any of the media fawning all over Manziel have spotted him in the gym or out on the practice field, let us know.

    When even your father calls you a “druggie” there’s a message in there that at least NFL teams are heeding.

    • Just because he gets signed doesn’t mean he plays. He would likely go to a mini-camp in Florida in March and if he’s out of shape or can’t cut it then he’s gone.
      After mini-camp then he goes to the June training camp, the point is he has to make the team he’s not going to make the team based on his resume.

  17. ONLY OPTION – Manziel plays for Hamilton in 2018. Any other approaches are all ludicrous. We must stop talking about Masoli as a great QB – he is who he is and he is hardly a young QB. He has little room for further growth. Collarus is a dangerous call as his problems are largely mental. Any physical problems are manifestations of his core mental problem of playing without an edge, playing to avoid injury. Moral of the story -,HELLO JOHNNY Welcomr to Hamilton.

    • No, Toronto and MLSE need a Manziel to sell tickets.
      The Ticats trade his right to the Argos for a couple of good players and a draft pick.

    • Depends on whether Manziel can beat out Mazoli.

      Making him a starter regardless of what shape he is in and what he can do on the field in a live game is silly.

  18. Jeremiah was a Bullfrog // January 2, 2018 at 1:43 am //

    If Manziel isn’t a TigerCat by the 7th of January 2018. Which he is probably about an 85% chance of being. There is no way in Hell that Austin trades him to an Eastern team. They will not take a chance of improving a division rival. Instead Johnny and his media storm and all the distractions will be traded far away to a Western Team.

  19. Since this story broke another one broke too. The Raiders fired their coach and all signs points to MNF announcer Jon Gruden becoming the coach…again. Here are the tie ins to Manziel. Gruden lobbied the Raiders hard to draft Manziel. They took Derek Carr instead. Gruden was Manziels Personal QB coach after Manziel’s stint in Rehab in 2015. Gruden talks glowingly about Senior Futbol ala June Jones Derek Carr became friends with Manziel on a pre draft TV reality show shoot. Carr has spoken highly of Manziel and thinks he should be back in the NFL. What does this all mean? I think Eric Burkhardt, Herr Fussball’s agent, will try to slow the process down and see if Gruden actually takes over the Raiders and then shows some interest to perhaps bring Manziel in as an extra Raiders camp arm. If no interest is there from the Raiders on any NFl team Johannes Fussball I think, will take whatever he can get just to get on the field anywhere.

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