The surprise would have been if the Hamilton Tiger-Cats hadn’t offered Johnny Manziel a contract.
As expected, and virtually confirmed all last week by vice-president of football operations Kent Austin, the CFL team has offered the quarterback a CFL contract, meeting a noon Sunday league-set deadline required for the Ticats to keep the talented, but controversial, quarterback on their 45-man negotiation list.
The @Ticats have made an offer of a 2-year contract to @JManziel2. Offer made on Saturday. Believed to be a competitive offer, not just the minimum to extend their rights beyond 10-day window that closes today. #CFL #Ticats
— David William Naylor (@TSNDaveNaylor) January 7, 2018
“As per the negotiation list process, Johnny Manziel and his agent recently notified the Tiger-Cats that they had activated the 10-day window during which the Tiger-Cats must offer him a contract or lose his negotiation list rights,” the Tiger-Cats said in a released statement. “That window closed today and we can confirm that we made an offer to Manziel, and that his rights will remain on our negotiation list while discussions with he and his agent continue. We will have no further comment.”
A CFL spokesperson confirmed to The Spectator that an offer had been made, adding that “it’s between the two parties now.”
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie took over the Manziel file in late September after meeting with the former Texas A&M star who’d had well-publicized off-field problems in both college and at the professional level with the Cleveland Browns (a domestic violence charge since dropped, an NFL substance-abuse suspension, a slew of social media postings around his partying). He met with Manziel and had him assessed by an expert in the prevention of domestic violence but said he couldn’t play in the league in 2017.
Ambrosie did, however, leave the door open for Manziel to sign a contract if he met certain, unreleased, conditions. On December 28, the commissioner announced that Manziel had met those conditions and theTicats could offer him a contract, but had only 10 days to do so or he would be removed from their negotiation list to become a CFL free agent.
Austin had said the team would be ‘foolish’ to walk away from such an asset: the former Heisman Trophy winner could eventually play for the Ticats (current No. 1 Jeremiah Masoli signed a two-year deal for starter’s money last week) or his rights could be traded.
By offering him a contract the Tiger-Cats retain his negotiation list rights for another year, even if they don’t sign him. However, in at least the last 12 years no CFL neg list player who was offered a contract remained on that team’s list for the full year, a league official has told The Spectator.
And Austin and head coach June Jones have both been effusive in their praise of Manziel’s CFL potential.
The offer likely came Saturday, as late that night Manziel himself playfully stirred the waters, returning to social media interaction for the first time in seven months.
“Just wait on it, Comeback SZN” Manziel wrote in two Instagram posts.
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