Manziel facing important decision after Spring League

Johnny Manziel Johnny Manziel cleared another hurdle on his journey back to professional football, showcasing his abilities as a dual-threat quarterback in a pair of Spring League appearances - his first competitive action since 2015. Manziel joined Spring League to show he is still a capable quarterback, but now he must decide whether he feels his performance was enough to sway an NFL team into signing him, or if he should take the offer already available and join the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.


The move to Canada would entail a two-year commitment from Manziel, postponing any chance of returning to the NFL until 2020, when he will be 27. CFL stints worked well for other relatively undersized quarterbacks like Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia, who both went on to have lengthy NFL careers. Finding success with the Tiger-Cats would position Manziel well to make another run at the NFL, but Hamilton was the second-worst team in the CFL in 2017 so success is no guarantee, and two seasons of Canadian professional football opens the possibility of injuries that could derail Manziel’s comeback bid before it even happens.


If Manziel chose the Tiger-Cats, he would need to report to camp sometime in May, leaving around a month for him to decide. He could be waiting until after the NFL draft in two weeks, when teams will have a much clearer picture of their needs at quarterback. A team that is unable to land its preferred quarterback prospect through the draft might view Manziel as a contingency plan, especially if that team’s front office believes his past issues - from drug abuse to domestic violence - are truly behind him.


Adding Manziel in free agency would be fairly low-risk since he is in no position to make many contract demands, and he appears to be trying very hard to show he won’t be a liability. Plenty of teams should see Manziel’s deference as a positive trait in a quarterback considering their stance concerning Colin Kaepernick, whose social activism appears likely to keep him off an NFL roster for a second straight season. Kaepernick was scheduled to work out for the Seattle Seahawks, but the Seahawks postponed the workout after Kaepernick refused to agree to end his protest, which involves kneeling during the national anthem.