What might Johnny Manziel get paid in the CFL

Johnny Football has been cleared to put his Johnny Hancock on a CFL contract.

Just what that contract will look like could be intriguing.

While many American players coming to the CFL sign for the league minimum – $54,000 in 2018 – Manziel is unique. And there happens to be a recent player whose deal could provide a template for Manziel and the Ticats: former Saskatchewan Roughrider pivot Vince Young.

Young was a former first-round pick who, like Manziel, had been out of football for a while. The 34-year-old signed a standard one-year deal plus a team-held option with a base salary of $120,000 for both years, $15,000 in housing and another possible $71,000 in playtime bonuses and incentives, including $9,000 ($500 per game) for being the second QB on the depth chart. Young did not receive any up front money meaning the Riders could release him in training camp without paying anything. That’s exactly what happened.

Manziel is a former first-round pick who has not played a down since 2015. He turned 25 in December and wants a chance to play his way back to the NFL so a one-plus-one contract is likely appealing. He has few football options remaining so that will severely limit his bargaining power. Manziel may be able to land a small signing bonus, however.

Young did have more NFL experience before coming north, starting 50 games with a 30-17 win-loss record and two Pro Bowl selections. Manziel enters the CFL having eight NFL starts on his resume posting a 2-6 mark. Each man had a 74.4 passer rating in the NFL and both were last members of the Cleveland Browns.

Manziel representatives – agent Erik Burkhardt handles the embattled quarterback – can make the point that their client brings increased exposure to the Ticats or any other potential CFL team and therefore a bump in revenue. Although, the most important factor to remember: all that Hamilton has to offer is a minimum salary deal. If he rejects it then the Ticats keep Manziel’s exclusive rights for a year, which would be detrimental and delay Johnny Football getting another NFL shot.

Manziel’s net worth was around $4 million in 2017 – Young’s is estimated at $1.5 million. The opportunity to get back on the field might trump monetary considerations for “Money Manziel”.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (929 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

29 Comments on What might Johnny Manziel get paid in the CFL

  1. If the TiCats low ball Manziel it may get them nowhere and they might as well trade his rights to the highest offer. Remember it is a 2 way street. If he is not signed by SOMEONE the CFL loses out also at the gate and elsewhere. A 250K offer with incentives sounds fair. If he starts and wins he makes more. If he doesn’t he makes the 250K or possibly gets released like Young was with the Riders.

    • I am open to correction but I believe the league minimum you post is not accurate. QB`s have a different minimum and is higher

      • I can find Google links that say the 2018 CFL minimum salary is $54K. It is listed as “player salary” with no mention of other categories so it applies to QBs, like anyone else.

        You are correct that QB’s get paid more … but that does not change what the minimum is or that there is one minimum.

        Minimum wage may be what the mail room clerk is paid but an executive or CEO won’t be paid the minimum wage.

  2. Eddiefelson // January 2, 2018 at 10:18 am //

    100k tops…since he will need at least a year to get used to the faster game.

    Preferably out west

    • $100K tops if he signs a one year deal. Extra money will be needed to sign Masoli who is the best bet to be Hamilton’s starter in 2018.

  3. rogieshan // January 2, 2018 at 10:24 am //

    Collaros, Masoli or Manziel. Who ultimately makes the final decision here? Young, Jones, Austin, Mitchell, Tillman, or the commissioner Ambrosie? The ripple effect league-wide is huge. Surely the team would not punish Manziel – and all football fans – by holding onto his rights if he rejects its offer? Maybe the league should consider adopting a franchise-player or cap-exempt status ike in the NFL. Just kidding.

  4. 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. 1. Gruden lobbied the Raiders hard to draft Manziel. They took Derek Carr instead. 2. Gruden was Manziels Personal QB coach after Manziel’s stint in Rehab in 2015. 3. Gruden talks glowingly about Manziel ala June Jones 4. Derek Carr became friends with Manziel on a pre draft TV reality show shoot. 5. 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 Manziel I think, will take whatever he can get just to get on the field anywhere.

    • We got Mack instead and Carr in 2. He did lobby that but it worked out better. Depends how he feels about Cook. Been (Been a Raiders fan for about 36 years) Take the a out it spells Riders. Just a coincidence.

      You do make a very good point. Something has to be revealed in the next few days CFL wise. I feel with Carr there and to be fully healed from the back injury his mind will be occupied on coaches, the draft and free agents that can start next year. I just don’t think Manziel is his priority. Especially in 2020 when they are in Vegas. Could be wrong but I think he is CFL bound and we will know in 4 days or less where he will be.

    • Interesting stuff markus! Good post! I’m no mind reader but if I was Gruden and I became the Raiders new head coach I would approach this another way. Actually, now before Manziel has signed with anyone – iow no tampering – I would talk to him and give him some advice. I’d tell him to go to the CFL, keep his nose clean, and play hard and show that he’s still got it and that he’s matured. What QBs learn in the CFL does transfer to the NFL. Just look at the CFL QBs who have become successful in the NFL and how quickly they became successful – Flutie, Garcia, Moon – and I think you have to conclude that the CFL is good for the development of a QB for either league. And then I’d tell him that after that I’d be ready to give him his next NFL contract and give him a shot to start for the Raiders. At this point I think Manziel needs to prove that he not only has matured but also that he hasn’t lost anything on the field, and I think the CFL is the way for him to do that.

      • I’d also tell him to play more than one year in the CFL. I think he should play at least two years.

      • The CFL has not put a quarterback in the NFL in many years – no one lately has even had a serious shot – vehemently disagree – all of year examples are close to 20 years old and 35 years old for Moon.

    • Johnny in Vegas doesn’t sound like it would end well

    • Have to agree with Markus, Manziel is going to work every option to the NFL he can and that slows the process down. I think the Ti-Cats miss out unless something happened to Manziel and he figured out he can get 1 + Option at $250K then sign with the Raiders for more in year 2 or take the option if Gruden gets punted after one year.

  5. Carrie Cueto // January 2, 2018 at 11:18 am //

    The CareTaker Bob Young would be wise to hire Gruden as the new OC, especially since that dead weight, CIS reject Stef Pztasek is gone.

    • And piss off Jones who likely wants his own choice for OC?

      Not sure why Gruden who is on record as saying he hopes he is in the Raiders HC running would be interested in a CFL OC position, likely for less money.

    • pat lynch // January 3, 2018 at 8:07 am //

      Carrie, you have an interesting sense of humour. Putting “Chucky” Gruden in as TiCat OC is about as likely as Frank Caliendo replacing June Jones . ” I’ll tell you what man “.

  6. Calgary's Cup is stuck in Toronto // January 2, 2018 at 12:37 pm //

    If Manziel is truly serious about a football comeback, he has little option but the CFL. Hence he has no bargaining power. Give him standard entry pay for any international QB entering the league with some incentives. He’s worth no more at this time.

    • You don’t think going into Arena football or waiting for the XFL to be resurrected won’t do the trick?

      As for entry level play plus incentives – as long as the incentives are for playing time, sounds good to me.

  7. Offer him to the League minimum to lock up his rights. Trade him to BC for Burnham. Neither Masoli nor Collaros will sign with Hamilton to ride the bench for two years.

    • Hamilton won’t be allowing Collaros to ride either the bench or the field for another game, let alone two years.

      • Eddiefelson // January 2, 2018 at 2:50 pm //

        Dont kid yourself david- collaros holds the keys right now.
        If his agent came to hamilton saying 200k plus incentives, collaros would ne starter next season and madoli would be riding pine.
        Where ever collaros plays next season it will be with a renegotiated contract. Its whether he agrees to do it in hamilton or not

        • Collaros holds the keys? Who is kidding who?

          To win the HC job, Jones preferred Masoli. Now that he has the HC job, he raves about how good Manziel could be.

          I don’t see a cheaper contract bumping Collaros up to being starter … unless one or both of Mazoli/Manziel disappear.

    • Collaros is only under contract for one more year so in the unlikely event that TPTB keep Collaros, it is only for one year.

      Masoli has played for Jones so if Manziel stinks, odds are good that he would make the switch to Masoli. What Mazoli thinks and whether he is willing to risk playing elsewhere is unknown at this point.

  8. It’s hilarious to read this stuff about Manziel and even funnier to speculate on Gruden and Manziel. IF and it’s a big if – Jon Gruden decides to coach again he’s not that stupid to take some idiotic, partier as his QB….lol.

    Fans thinking if the Ticats don’t let someone sign him are then denying the CFL of this football wonder gave me the laugh of the new year.

    But at least this stuff is entertaining.

    I’m still waiting for ANY sighting of Manziel in the gym, out on a run OR working out on the football field.
    Until then, keep writing.

    As they say the template for Manziel in the CFL is QB Vince Young and we know how happy the Riders were when they spared them the need to release as he pulled a hammy or whatever…. Yep, that’s the template for the party dude.

  9. Colour me green // January 2, 2018 at 6:44 pm //

    Not a penny over $100k. I don’t think he will be all that good. College ain’t the pros. Give him too much money and it will end up getting him into and out of rehab.

  10. Billinburlington // January 2, 2018 at 9:06 pm //

    Good article… An interesting spin on this saga. Manziel talk is sure keeping the CFL interesting during this viciously cold weather. Markus’ insights adds yet another spin.

    Rogieshan raises an interesting question above- who in Hamilton makes the decision? I bet they all have input. I always thought Austin is a Collaros supporter… so I’m wondering if ther3 is disagreement amongst the Ticat decision makers about bringing Manziel in… time will tell.

    Bottom line for me is that there is a lot of uncertainty around the QB situation on the team that better get resolved and clarified once and for all (for better or worse) before free agency.

  11. Great points… and an interesting comparison to Vince Young. However, Manziel is on his way up, Vince was on his way down. Hamilton will not blow this. They won’t play around with any entry level contract… I see it being at least $250k + incentives that could bring it up to $350K. Here’s why… they’ll sell a ton of Johnny Football merchandise. They’ll get a ton of exposure all over North American. Vince Young could never do that. As good as Hamilton’s attendance is… it’ll be sold out all season. And, anywhere the Ti-Cats travel.

  12. Totally agree with Byron …yes Johnny M will be offered somewhere in the 250 K range ,can’t build the guy up publicly and offer him minimum salary…while the CFL can’t compete with NFL contracts this is a sure deal for him to get back into football and then he can offer a body of work to the NFL should he want to go back…. going to Oakland ? anything is possible I guess but not sure Gruden despite singing his praises when he is in the tv booth as a college player wants to bank on a guy whose pro record is 2-6 with the Browns and has had a reputation for not taking his career seriously.
    Still think the most likely scenario will be Manziel in the black and gold next spring… as a Ticat fan you gotta like it !

  13. tick tick tick…the clock is getting closer to the deadline to sign/trade Manziel…that is if he is interested in the CFL….

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