Ticats’ QB options now that Johnny Manziel is (kinda) in the fold

Hamilton, heeeeeeeeere’s Johnny Football.

The CFL announced on Thursday that Johnny Manziel, former Heisman trophy winner and first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, has met the league’s requirements and will register a contract if and when one is sent to them.

That means the Money train could be stopping in Hamilton sometime soon (the team has 10 days to offer him a contract).

But it is not just what Manziel could bring to the team that is of interest, but what it means for the team’s stable of quarterbacks. Just what will the Ticats do now that Johnny Manziel is an option?

I see three possible scenarios that could play out, all of which are based on the assumption that Hamilton keeps Manziel and doesn’t trade his rights elsewhere.

Option 1: Keep Zach Collaros, lose Jeremiah Masoli, sign Johnny Manziel

Option No. 1 is simple: the team stands pat and keeps Collaros for the final year of his contract, to see if maybe the changes June Jones made to the offense can reignite a player that was once considered one of the best the league, and brings in Manziel to compete for a roster spot and possibly the starter’s job. This would lead to Masoli, who was behind centre for the team’s incredible resurgence in the second half of last season, finding a spot elsewhere (Montreal, perhaps?).

I’m not sure this one is very likely. Jones clearly preferred Masoli last year, and Collaros has a hefty salary that, if shed, would allow the team to shore up some deficiencies elsewhere. As much as fans would like to see Collaros back — though I think they more fear that he would re-find his groove and come back to beat on the Ticats for the next 10 years — I just don’t see it happening.

So that leads us to the second option.

Option 2: Sign Jeremiah Masoli and Johnny Manziel, trade/release Zach Collaros

In this scenario, the Ticats re-sign pending free agent Masoli to a team-friendly deal, one with a decent base salary, but also not too onerous that if he was to lose his starting spot to Manziel it would be an albatross hanging from the team’s neck, while also inking Manziel to a similar team-friendly deal and finding a new home for Collaros. With the team owing Collaros a roster bonus on February 1, we will know what his fate will be before free agency opens later that month.

This seems to be the most likely scenario to play out, and probably the one that should. Masoli was June Jones’ guy last year and if the team can bring him back, I think they will. I also think Jones wants a chance to groom Manziel to be, as he said, “the best player to ever play up here.” While I doubt any team would take Collaros on at his current salary, I could see him taking his talents to Montreal or even Saskatchewan next season.

I also think Masoli has earned the right to be a starter in this league, and while I hope Manziel succeeds wherever he lands (especially if it is in Hamilton), I have my doubts. Give Masoli the starter’s job he has earned and allow Manziel to compete and beat him out. If he does, we will know he is the better player. If he doesn’t, Masoli gets another chance to prove he belongs.

Option 3: Sign Johnny Manziel, trade/release Zach Collaros, lose Jeremiah Masoli

The third, and final, option is the doomsday scenario. In this one, the team parts ways with Collaros and loses Masoli to another team in free agency. That leaves the team with Johnny Manziel and not much else.

I don’t think the team will put all its eggs in the Johnny Football basket, but it may not be up to them. That February 1 deadline comes before free agency starts, and if the Ticats are dead set against ponying up the dough to keep Collaros around, they will have to make a decision on him before Masoli may be ready to make his decision. This could leave the team with no Collaros and no Masoli, if the latter decides all this fawning over Johnny Manziel is too much and he looks to find a better spot somewhere else.

This is the absolute worst-case scenario and would make the Ticats brass — Kent Austin, Eric Tillman, June Jones, etc. — look mighty foolish. The team clearly turned a corner with Jones at the helm, and starting from scratch with a rookie QB is not the best way keep the momentum going from last year’s impressive turnaround.

That said, I don’t think it ever gets to this point, I think a decision on the other quarterbacks not named Johnny Manziel comes well before free agency opens, but if things play out in a way that doesn’t allow that, the Ticats may be up the creek without a paddle.

One way or another, the Ticats still have to answer some questions at the quarterback position, and making sure they make the right decisions might be the difference between this team picking up where it left off in the second half last year or continuing the downward trend they have been on ever since Zach Collaros tore up his knee over two years ago.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.
Josh Smith

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Josh Smith
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Josh has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.

47 Comments on Ticats’ QB options now that Johnny Manziel is (kinda) in the fold

  1. Option 2 probably the best scenario.
    Keep Masoli, trade or release Collaros. They won’t know what Manziel can do until training camp and pre-season. He could win the starters job out right or he could fail miserably

    • Training camp and pre season really dont tell us much. Not until reg season do we really know what a player has, and that is generally deep into the season. Truth is this, most coaches and GM`s think every training camp, boy I like what I see, I think we are going to win the whole flippin thing. They may not even repeat it to one another, but they all think it secretly. How many times have you heard it said, he had a great camp? They used to say of Doug Flutie he never looked his best in camp, was a gamer.

  2. Dave stinson // December 29, 2017 at 9:53 am //

    I thinkoption 2 is the most likely I think Zach and don’t get me wrong I was hoping he was going to come back in spades and blow the doors off but it just didn’t happen maybe a change would be good for Zach and it would super up some money for other things needed .as for Johnny bring him to camp let him work for the spot see if he is as good as they say but Jeremiah is the guy until proven otherwise

  3. Lennywasout // December 29, 2017 at 9:54 am //

    How about another option. Offer Manziel the league minimum contract, he declines and sits for the 2018 season. Give Zach his bonus. Sign Masoli. Open competition at training camp. If either QB bombs, then offer Manziel more to come to 2019 camp. If it works out with Zach and Masoli, then trade Manziel’s rights.

    • I like this option.

      The Tiger-Cats in good shape at every position except quarterback. The team has the fewest number of pending free agents in the league. Open it up in training camp, give Zach a decent shot to earn the job, and may the best man win.

      Honestly, with almost a full year to get this competitive juices flowing, I don’t see how he doesn’t earn the starting job back. We saw the best of Jeremiah Masoli last season. At his best, Zach Collaros is better. If Collaros can’t beat out Masoli in camp, I’m fine with releasing him, but he never got a shot to run the offense under Jones. This is why anyone saying “release Zach, he sucks” is stupid, plain and simple. Zach only ran Austin’s broken offense. Masoli only ran Jones’ awesome offense and did fairly well.

      • Brockleigh – I agree that Collaros should be given the option to “earn” the starting job back in training camp and that “at his best Collaros is better” (than Masoli). I was very disappointed that he didn’t get the chance to show what he could do with Jones’ offensive system when the team found itself out of the playoffs. Jones wanted to be loyal to “his starter” but IMO did Zach a disservice by not letting him play and prove he was still a viable option for the team. All Jones would say was “I know Zach can play” but he wouldn’t let him prove it to the fans or the league. However I really can’t see the team keeping Collaros AND Masoli as well as signing Johnny Football (who is going to need time to learn the game and IMO is highly unlikely to be anywhere close to winning a starting job out of camp after not playing for 2++ years). I’m hoping that they keep Collaros but I’m not holding my breath. I really don’t care what they do with Johnny – sign or trade him – there’s no guarantee he’ll succeed in the CFL any time soon and if he does he’ll be hightailing back to the NFL for a bigger profile starting job.

  4. Dave stinson // December 29, 2017 at 9:55 am //

    I think opotion
    2 is the most likely I think Zach and don’t get me wrong I was hoping he was going to come back in spades and blow the doors off but it just didn’t happen maybe a change would be good for Zach and it would free up some money for other things needed .as for Johnny bring him to camp let him work for the spot see if he is as good as they say but Jeremiah is the guy until proven otherwise

  5. If you offer Manziel a contract, you can renegotiate it after free agency. So offer him a base salary, get Masoli signed & then renegotiate a deal that fits your salary scale with Manziel, with incentives if necessary. You have to go option 2. The Collaros deal pretty much means he’s gone. You have to get Masoli in place before you do any hard negotiations with Manziel. I don’t see trading Manziel for awhile until he has a chance for some playing time. Manziel likely doesn’t pan out but you made your bed when Jones & Austin raved about Manziel. You trade him without him playing any meaningful minutes at some point & you look like clowns trading away “the best player to ever come to the CFL”. At the very least, he has the potential to be better than what they have behind Masoli now, with Collaros gone.

    • this one boneyard. i also think Manziel wants to wait till after the nfl and cfl draft to see if any nfl teams bite. offer min. Manz rejects. renegotiate when Herr Fusball gives up on NFL.

  6. Option 4 – Masoli walks in FA, Zach agrees to re-do his contract and stays…Manziel signs and competes w Zach and EG. Less likely but possible…

  7. The last dynasty // December 29, 2017 at 10:51 am //

    The 4th option is they keep their two current QBs and then they trade Johnny Football while his stock is still relatively high and before he flames out professionally and personally.

  8. Option 2 but with a note mazoli is not the talent that Manziel is. Never was in college and he did not have any starts in nfl. Mazoli knows he may start first game or so and knows he will be backup to manziel. That scenario is inevitable. Let me be clear Manziel has to earn that starting spot and I believe he will when that happens the CFL will get millions of dollars of free media coverage. As will all the cities and teams who will host Hamilton. Mazoli Is not Johnny football who will lite up the CFL. Of note I like what Mazoli did when he came in last season. He must be thinking if he stays that the backup roll is where he will be

  9. Option 2 all the way . Jones knows the 2 qb’s he wants In camp…but is Montreal willing to fork out more money to land the likes of Masoli or collaros .what about scenario #4 keep Zack and resign Masoli and trade manziels rights to Montreal for a boatload. Kavis dumb enough to make the deal lol. All kidding aside I think the cats have to roll with Masoli and see if Manziel can compete . I just have this feeling that collaros isn’t the guy they thought he was almost reminds me of a Travis Lulay situation flashes of great play but injury prone and a back up at best

    • Well, at least Lulay won something. The 1.5 m dollar man has won squat. I agree, roll with Masoli – guy deserves the chance. And if Manziel can play, bonus.

  10. Bo and the red supremes // December 29, 2017 at 11:01 am //

    There is no way Collaros is a Ticat in 2018. His big salary doesn’t match his production. Look for Masoli, Manziel to possibly be in the mix (the M&M show. Don’t bother; I’ve already copyrighted the name).
    Durant will end up a back up somewhere

    • I claim Mas-ziel and Manz-oli 😉

      And I think that’s the combo the team will try to field this year — it’s what June Jones wants, and likely the most cap-friendly option too.

      I also think people who’ve compared Collaros (who I still like as a starter) and Masoli need to consider that all Jeremiah has done since being a throw-in on a big trade has improve… He’s made some mistakes for sure but his numbers over 10 games with Jones last year would put him among the top QBs in the league if projected to a full season. With a camp under Jones he may very well become even with Zach’s best. I do think it doubtful Johnny would beat out either one to start the season.

  11. So why does Masoli stay? He goes somewhere he will be the starter. Same for Collaros. Given how he was treated Zach will be looking to leave. Why would he want to back up Johnny football for two years? The only good approach is to sign and then trade Manzeil.

    • The Iceman // December 29, 2017 at 6:38 pm //

      Masoli would only start in Hamilton and Montreal. Nowhere else would he be a clear starter. Collaros would LOVE to stay. If he gets released there is ZERO chance of him signing a 1/2 million dollar contract.

    • “Given the way he was treated”? Boo-hoo…poor Zach…he was only the highest paid player in the CFL last year. Not the TC’s fault he sucked and didn’t earn his contract. He should be giving the TC organization a bloody refund!

      • Marc Antony // December 30, 2017 at 9:13 am //

        Oh please, get over it. You’re a hater and nothing more. Zach wasn’t given any reasonable shot to fit into June Jones run-and-shoot offense last season whatsoever. Real fans of the game recognize Collaros as one of the most gifted QB’s in the league. If you don’t like the guy, fine. I get tired of reading your condescending toxic ignorance over and over again.

        • LOL! Reasonable shot? He started the first 8 games of the season, Einstein…and he was…um let me think, he was…? So why don’t YOU get over it. Will join Maas and Printers in the TC wall of shame as TC QB’s who were over priced and overpaid. And if you get your shorts in a knot by reading my comments…simple…just don’t read them!

        • And I’ve seen your comments before. I can only deduce that you are some relative or friend of the 1.5 m dollar man because no other fan with an objective mind would be so personally affected. You have yourself a nice New Year.

      • Nor was Collaros given 2 right tackles who could actually block and a running game to set up the pass as Masoli had under Jones offense – to say nothing of a defense that finally found itself, and started limiting the points scored by the opposing teams. Collaros had the July 20th game vs Edmonton won but the D promptly let Reilly march down the field and score the winning points.

        • Don’t always agree with you TFMCB but as a long time poster respect your opinion. Do you honestly think though changing 2 O Linemen would make THAT much difference? Or could we just give the kid Masoli some credit? I was at that July 20th game as well. Yes, the bend and break defence was at it again. But if memory serves me right it was also Collaros’ inability to sustain a fresh set of downs and put a lock on it prior to Reilly marching down the field doomed it as well.

  12. Harry Bradshaw // December 29, 2017 at 11:44 am //

    Or how about sign Manziek and trade him for some help on the offensive line, which is all we really need anyway

  13. Go all in and sign Manziel. Release Collaros before bonus payment. Let Masoli walk. Obtain either Kevin Glenn or Darius Durant on team-friendly terms to mentor Johnny Football and serve as fallback.

  14. Randy, what talent other than aging talent and a first overall pick does Montreal have to trade to Hamilton. Offensive lineman are dealt with. Besides the improvement in the online towards season end, Ticats also made the CJ Gable trade and have two yet unnamed offensive lineman coming from Edmonton. Not sure why we still don’t know those names. Hamilton needs to rebuild some of its Canadian talent especially in the receiver position. This is where I see Toronto coming into play. Brian Jones with the Argos is going to be a damned good receiver . There is also nothing wrong with Cross and I would love to see him in Hamilton. Trade Collaros to Toronto for a combination that includes both Jones and Cross. Sign Manziel and as option 5 also sign James Franklin. Masoli is going to Montral

  15. Option #2 all the way, it’s the most logical choice. IF in fact Manziel is seriously considering coming to the CFL. In which he has been going through the protocol and agreeing to strict restrictions put in place by the league and Ambrosie.

    Collaros had no help at the beginning of season, and when June Jones took over and Ti-Cats were 0-8 inserted Masoli. The O Line strengthened up and defense improved. Collaros and his HUGE salary rode the sidelines.

    Hoping Manziel gets a chance, could and should bring interest to the CFL, or he could flop? That’s the $64,000K question. I assume Collaros is going to Montreal or Saskatchewan too.

    Can’t wait is it June yet?

    • Sea of Dead // December 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm //

      We’ve been waiting 18 years and still no GC … Anything is possible with the current management team and odds are they will choose poorly despite having a ‘full house’ hand.

      • No kidding SoD. Was thinking the same thing. With these current clowns at the TC management controls I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to turn a “full house” into nothing. And yeah, 1999 was a long time go…

  16. there’s nothing to discuss as the outcome is obvious….Collaros has nowhere to go except Montreal…June Jones has already made it clear who his two guys are (Manziel and Masoli)

    that said, I’d love to see Manziel in an Alouettes uniform….they need a QB and Manziel would sell a million jerseys, sell out the stadium every week and make Montreal a place for every US sports journalist to go

    but if Manziel aims to keep sober, Hamilton would provide less distractions than the famous nightlife of Montreal, Quebec

    • Agree that the outcome is obvious. There must be some strong kool-aid the Collaros followers are drinking to ignore the writing on the wall.

      With Manziel, only part of the problem is his partying. The other huge concern is he is not a dedicated professional athlete. Quarterbacks have to be a leader who other players respect. Let’s say Manziel is sober. Will he now become that pro that leads by example? I have my doubts.

  17. solara2000 // December 29, 2017 at 1:49 pm //

    A big part of this puzzle is ZC’s mental state. He was almost an ignored player last year. His benching and JJ’s public endorsement of JM must have been a bitter pill to swallow for Zach. I know many will say “…yeah but look at the dough he’s still making holding a clipboard” but money, while its great, isn’t everything.

  18. In what world would people think Masoli will want to come back here if we sign Masoli? I’m hoping this means Collaros gets his chance to start with Manziel backing him up and Collaros tears up the league

    • I like Masoli, would be very happy to see him as the starter in Hamilton, however if it is in his control he is best to stay In Hamilton. Better chance that Manziel flops than there is that Masoli finds same great chemistry outside of Hamilton.

      If for some reason he was asked to join the Kavis Reed circus act in Montreal, might be the last we ever see of him

  19. Dustinjunk // December 29, 2017 at 4:53 pm //

    It’s been reported the Riders worked out Manziel in Regina yesterday.

  20. why are all the options state that Manziel is a Ticat period they have to sign him first within 10 days otherwise any other team can sign him and then look out then

  21. Option #1 is the best by far…. Masoli is not a first string qb anywhere else in the league …except maybe…maybe Montreal. So it only makes sense to keep a true first sting qb in Collaros, let Manziel learn, and then see which one is the best. Zach would renegotiate his contract, if just to prove he’s still a great qb

  22. Zack finished no matter where he goes if he gets front line protection like Brady hell be fine outside of that he’s gun shy, no protection, no Zack

  23. Oakland fired their coach. All signs points to MNF announcer Jon Gruden becoming the Raiders 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 or any NFl team Johannes Fussball, I think, will take whatever he can get just to get on the field anywhere.

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