The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are now on the clock.
According to a Pro Football Talk report, the agent for Johnny Manziel “has given the Tiger-Cats until January 31 to ‘work out a fair deal’ with Manziel. [Agent Erik] Burkhardt describes a ‘fair deal’ to mean a contract ‘on par with what Hamilton has paid their QB in recent years, despite not having much on-field success.’”
While this self-important contractual ping-pong will dominate the near future of the Manziel news cycle—as well as the subsequent outrage from those who think someone coming out of rehabilitation and NFL purgatory shouldn’t be so demanding—here’s a more important question the Tiger-Cats should be asking themselves: Will it be worth it?
Speculation on Manziel’s health, physical preparedness and mental state aside, would you, as a football fan, tune in on June 16, 2018 to see the Tiger-Cats take on the Calgary Stampeders in their season-opener? Would it make you any more interested in Canadian football? Would you head on over to Tim Hortons Field and buy yourself a Manziel Ticats jersey?
There have been plenty of high-profile NFL washouts trying to squeeze some remaining life out of their careers in the CFL. Ricky Williams ran for the Toronto Argonauts in 2006, while serving a season-long suspension from the NFL. Chad Johnson had a brief stint with the Montreal Alouettes in 2014. Mark Gastineau was a British Columbia Lion in 1990. The CFL claimed in November that they’re doing just fine in the ratings, noting a “double digit increases across all key adult demos” in their conference finals this year. But the Manziel saga would be different.
Why? Manziel put almost no effort into his NFL career and still produced some dazzling moments alongside long stretches of puzzling ineptitude. He has a raw skill set that former coordinator John DeFilippo said made coaching irrelevant at times. Unlike Johnson or Williams, Manziel needs success in the CFL if he truly wants to get back to the NFL.
This seems to be a forced NFL-CFL marriage that can be mutually beneficial, rather than some sort of MLS-style kidnapping of a big-name player as a novelty act.
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Robert Klemko writes on why he didn't watch the National Championship on Monday night . . . Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback . . . Andy Benoit on what the Matt Nagy hire in Chicago does for Mitch Trubisky.
LATER TODAY: Jenny Vrentas on Doug Pederson, the NFL's man of mystery . . . Jonathan Jones on the logistical hurdles facing the Super Bowl planning committee in Minneapolis with the Vikings in the playoffs . . . Greg Bishop on the Steelers defense.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Beer, Wings, Zubaz and Nerves: Vrentas in Buffalo for the playoff game . . . On another Chiefs coordinator who could be taking head coaching interviews . . . One NFL player wonders if he was released by the Panthers for gesturing during the national anthem.
3. Donald Penn says Jon Gruden coming to the Raiders was like Steve Kerr joining the Warriors. Anyway, we better come up with a better NFL offseason storyline to counter the horrid state of the real world than relentless Gruden optimism. It won't hold up and I'm almost out of videos featuring dogs sledding downhill in the snow.
4. Cam Jordan sent a bottle of wine to Cam Newton because the Saints beat the Panthers three times this year. Honestly though, depending on the year and variety, Newton could end up coming out ahead on this. Nothing beats an aggressive Merlot while romper shopping.
5. Bill O'Brien's search for a general manager is underway in what could be one of the more underrated storylines of the offseason.
6. Jason Licht tries to make chicken salad out of the Buccaneers' 2017—and not just the kind of chicken salad where you set out trying to find a much better chicken salad only to settle for the one already in your refrigerator.
7. One Miami Herald columnist is already aboard the "Draft Ryan Tannehill's replacement" train.
8. Optimism is high in Los Angeles, even as the Rams clear out their lockers.
9. Bill Belichick says he's going to coach the Patriots again next year despite a brilliant piece by Seth Wickersham at ESPN suggesting otherwise.
10. The Dallas Morning News takes a trip to Click Mansion and predicts the Cowboys' 2018 record based on their opponent list.
Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.
Some real advice for Johnny Manziel in Canada: The Canadian sitcom Corner Gas was one of my favorite television shows of the mid-2000s (for some reason it appeared on a local station we got in my dorm room at Syracuse). If you can find it on rerun somewhere, do yourself a favor and tune in.
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