Johnny Manziel to Montreal Would Make Sense

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 27: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns walks off the field, after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs on December 27, 2015 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

The CFL twitter world is abuzz once again with Manzielmania. It’s all because Johnny Manziel finally has the green light from Commissioner Randy Ambrosie to sign with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats or any other team who trades for him.

Johnny Manziel to Montreal Would Make Sense

For those you unfamiliar with the situation, The Tiger-Cats own his CFL playing rights and will soon have the option to offer Manziel a contract in order to keep other teams paws away from their prized recruit. Should he sign, he becomes their property. Should he reject the offer, Hamilton retains his rights for one more year to either work out a deal with his agent or trade him somewhere else.

In this column, we see fit to point out the top 10 reasons why the tabbies and Alouettes should hook up on a Johnny Football blockbuster trade:

Mike Sherman

The Alouettes new head coach has a positive history with Johnny Football. After committing to Oregon to start his college career, it was then-Texas A & M coach Sherman who talked Manziel into changing his mind to go there instead. Now this was around the time Sherman was fired from that job and although he never actually got to coach the young QB, he did establish contact with the player’s family and create some goodwill with them. This would bode well for getting Johnny’s buy-in for whatever system they choose to run in Montreal.

Jeremiah Masoli

Unlike the Alouettes, Hamilton already has a starting quarterback. Masoli hasn’t set the world on fire yet but his 6-4 record down the stretch of what was an otherwise miserable season in steel town should be encouraging enough to at least see what he can do over an 18-game schedule. In a world where there is never enough quality quarterbacks to go round, the Tiger-Cats would be foolish to part with their one ray of sunshine from an otherwise cloudy season. Shoving him aside to make room for a Johnny Football experiment would be a big gamble with consequences for everyone involved should it not work out.

Montreal good for Reclamation Projects

Major League Baseball stars Dennis Martinez and Pascual Perez proved that athletes battling drug addiction and a shady past can thrive in Montreal. Different sport but the scenarios were very similar to Manziel. Loads of talent, substance abuse problems and left for dead by other organizations. Both pitchers found serenity in la belle province and enough stability to resurrect their careers. They proved Montreal can be more than just a party city and in fact a good environment for high-level athletes needing a fresh start.

Tickets a Tough Sell in Montreal

The Ticats continue to enjoy a renaissance with their fan base since moving into splashy, new Tim Hortons Field just over three years ago. Most tickets are paid for and empty seats aren’t nearly as common as they used to be in Hamilton at old Ivor Wynne or as they still are at Montreal’s Percival Molson Stadium. The Johnny Manziel story would inject far more value into the Montreal CFL market than it would for Hamilton’s. The Alouettes need some sizzle for their steak and Johnny would be just what the doctor ordered.

Rebuilding Al’s better Suited for new Leader

Hamilton had a good thing going with the players who finished the year in 2017. That crew already has its own leaders and Johnny Manziel might not be welcomed with open arms. The Alouettes however, are primed for a tear-it-down-to-the-studs style of a rebuild. It would be much easier for a new star to re-boot his existence as a field general surrounded by newcomers than it would in an established locker room like Hamilton’s.

Name Recognition to Recruit New Stars

Every team is looking for fresh talent south of the border but convincing players to come is a lot easier when you have names they recognize from the football world. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats already have ex-Atlanta Falcons/ex-University of Hawaii/ex-SMU head coach June Jones. The Alouettes have ex-Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman but that team had the oldest roster in the league this past season and is in far greater need of luring young talent to Canada. Johnny Manziel can play a bigger role in that department for Montreal than he can for Hamilton.

Better Endorsement Opportunities

The greater Hamilton area doesn’t serve much more than 750,000 residents. The greater Montreal area tops 4 million. And being the team of French Canada, the Alouettes are the primary football brand for a province of more than 8 million where amateur and college football is exploding. Corporate Quebec would be much quicker to latch on to a Johnny Football superstar than the steel industry sandwiched between Toronto and Buffalo. Playing/living in the shadow of the big smoke would severely handicap any future marketability for this quarterback of star potential.

Further From his Past

A direct flight down to the States to reunite with old troublemaking chums is much easier to come by in southern Ontario than it is from Trudeau International. This distance just might help Johnny avoid the temptations of the life which haunted his very being just a short time ago.

Cultural Surroundings Cultivate new Interests

When Johnny needs to take his mind off football and other things, Montreal offers a breath-taking array of options. From the wax museum to the Olympic Stadium and Expo 67 tour or comparing which restaurant has the best smoked meat, Manziel has a plethora of options to escape the pressures of football life. He could even endear himself to the locals by simply taking a few French lessons.

Montreal Better Suited for Hollywood Story

Hamilton is a terrific, blue-collar city with a Pittsburgh-like identity. It is many things wonderful but a star-studded production it is not. In Montreal however, they like to think big. There are signs galore the city appears to be getting its mojo back. A money Manziel story drawing attention from all over North America with a Hollywood comeback script would be a nice consolation prize for a town unable to recoup its beloved Expos just yet.


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  1. All valid points, but remember Zack Kassian? His short stint Montreal proves that the individual must have the motivation to rehabilitate and not be relying on the environment around him. But yes, the Als would definitely benefit the most from having Manziel on the roster.

  2. A few things

    1) Hamilton is not trading Manziel, especially not in the division, after June Jones called him the best player in CFL history.

    2) You massively overrate the endorsement opportunities available to any CFL player. We are talking a max out of 10,000 -20,000 a year in endorsements. It just isn’t a big number, Montreal or Hamilton or Toronto, or elsewhere.

    3) You underrate the number of flights from Trudeau to major cities in the United States. Trudeau is not a little airport.

    4) You underrate the amount of things to do away from the football field in Southern Ontario. He would be less than an hour to both Toronto and Niagara, along with the stuff in Hamilton itself.

    5) You overrate the ticket sales in Hamilton. I don’t care what the ticats report, the stadium has been 75% full at best for 2 years.


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