When it comes to Johnny Manziel, there are indications aplenty to indicate the vice- president of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is not on the same page as his head coach.
Johnny Manziel Standoff Might Bring Turmoil to Hamilton Tiger-Cats Front Office
Jones More Enthusiastic than Austin
One of June Jones’ first acts as sideline boss since removing the interim tag earlier this off-season was to declare that Johnny Football could “be the best player to ever play up here” should he join this Ticat squad. That statement alone put enormous pressure on the management team led by Kent Austin to get a deal done with their celebrity recruit.
That kind of chatter only fuels the hype Manziel and his agent are leveraging in their negotiation more than offered by the Tabbies. It created a virtually impossible scenario for the team to sign him for a reasonable number similar to what another NFL castoff, Vince Young, signed in order to join the Saskatchewan Roughriders last winter.
Young agreed to come north for barely more than a 100-thousand-dollar base salary with minimal guaranteed money. The Tiger-Cats could only dream of this soap opera ending with a number like that. The genie is out of the bottle and there’s no turning back now.
Austin Wearing Salesman Hat
Recent appearances by the vice-president of football operations suggest the man is trying to talk Manziel up enough to obtain a compensation package from another team—probably the Montreal Alouettes—via a trade for the quarterback’s playing rights.
Austin knows star quarterbacks he likes, having been one before. He was disciplined, a leader and reliable. To date, Manziel has proven to be none of that. He isn’t Austin’s kind of player and if there was ever any doubt about that, it was erased the day the team re-signed incumbent quarterback Jeremiah Masoli to a two-year contract extension just last week.
Austin doesn’t like distractions and would much rather enter the 2018 season with no questions about who his quarterback is going to be or the latest tweet from Johnny Manziel or his agent, Erik Burkhardt.
June Jones’ enthusiasm for Manziel mania, however, could trigger the head coach to cry foul if the guy who he replaced as head coach (Austin) is unable to secure a contract with the guy he (Jones) wants to have as his quarterback. It’s all enough to make one bleary-eyed and wonder if these two—Austin and Jones—will peacefully co-exist post-Johnny Football fiasco.
Trade to Alouettes Best Solution
Austin has already been slapped in the face by this agent who made details about the negotiation public before sharing them with Austin himself. Caving to Manziel’s demands or even legitimizing them with a serious counter-offer would not only rob Austin of his dignity in this matter but undermine the entire league as a whole.
Montreal general manager Kavis Reed is trying to make a splash with his new head coach, Mike Sherman, to prove the Alouettes 2017 season wasn’t his fault. He has the keys to the only franchise willing to pay anything of value in compensation to acquire Manziel.
The Tiger-Cats upper management would dearly love to offload this headache to la belle province in return for a draft pick, negotiation list player or both.
CFL Above Pandering to NFL Washouts
The Canadian Football League has proven to be a dead end for players who have worn out their welcome down south from character issues. Countless big names from Dexter Manley to Adam Jones, Andre Rison, and Chad Johnson all failed to register any real impact in Canada when they’ve managed to show up at all (Jones didn’t make it).
The 3rd overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft was offered a contract by Saskatchewan during last season. Running back Trent Richardson demanded a one year contract back in the summer and GM/Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/VP of football operations Chris Jones said no. Richardson sat around for a few more weeks and eventually agreed to the Roughriders terms of one year plus a team option for a 2nd before reporting to Regina late in the season.
The Riders refused to cave to somebody who hadn’t taken a regular season snap in more than two years. Doesn’t sound like the Tiger-Cats will either.
And unless June Jones’ “He’d be the best player to ever play up here” comment was nothing more than window dressing, the Ticat head coach may very well be about to clash with Kent Austin.
REGINA, SK – JULY 08: Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Kent Austin on the sideline during the game between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium on July 8, 2017 in Regina, Canada. (Photo by Brent Just/Getty Images)