Johnny Manziel Signs Hamilton Tiger-Cats Contract as He Pursues NFL Comeback

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 19, 2018

FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2015, file photo, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel speaks with media members following the team's 30-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in an NFL football game, in Seattle. Cleveland did not release Manziel on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, when the NFL began its new calendar year, a move that has been expected for weeks.   (AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File)
Scott Eklund/Associated Press

Johnny Manziel has found a team willing to take a chance on him, as the troubled quarterback signed a deal with the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday. 

"Made the decision today to sign my contract with the CFL and further my football career after a long break," Manziel wrote on Twitter. "Very grateful for everyone that's been supporting me along the way. I believe this is the best opportunity for me moving forward and I'm eager for what the future holds."

Manziel discussed his decision in a video for Barstool Sports: 

Barstool Sports @barstoolsports

BREAKING NEWS: Johnny Manziel signs with the CFL and Barstool Sports @comebacksznshow SUBSCRIBE: https://t.co/O3J4YiWgNK https://t.co/p6pjjc9Qf6

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported the structure of Manziel's contract:

Jason La Canfora @JasonLaCanfora

Manziel's CFL contract: $122k base, $10k sign bonus, $18k housing stipend, $10k if active 6 games, $10k for 10 games active. $10k for 14 games active. Another $120k if plays half of snaps. March 1 $75k offseason bonus. 2018 $202k base w/same incentives

Manziel has fallen on hard times since the Cleveland Browns made him the 22nd overall pick in 2014. He was fined $12,000 during his first preseason game after giving the middle finger to Washington's bench. 

His off-field exploits, though, made more headlines than anything he did on the field, starting with entering a rehab treatment center in February 2015.

Manziel was also involved in an alleged domestic dispute with his ex-girlfriend in January 2016. The charge was dropped in November 2017 after he agreed to complete an anger management course as part of a dismissal agreement.

The NFL announced in June 2016 that Manziel would be suspended for four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted Manziel could still face additional punishment related to his domestic dispute under the NFL's personal conduct policy if he returns. 

SportsCenter noted how bad Manziel was whenever he featured for the Browns:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Johnny Manziel started 8 games since being drafted in '14 1st round. • 2-6 record • 1,675 Pass yds • 7 TD • 7 Int https://t.co/gjrweLgtoa

Manziel possesses talent, which made him an attractive option despite his long period away from the sport. He's not a traditional dropback passer, but there were brief moments during his two seasons with the Browns when he showed ability.

Manziel is still working his way back into the good graces of NFL teams, so the opportunity to join a CFL squad makes all the sense in the world.

The Tiger-Cats worked out Manziel last August. At the time, TSN.ca's Farhan Lalji and Dave Naylor reported the team wasn't comfortable with his desire to play football and that he wasn't "ready to put his troubled past behind him."

Hamilton made Manziel a two-year contract offer Jan. 7 to keep him on its negotiation list while it tried to work out a deal.

A few years removed from his most recent professional football game, Manziel is an enigma. He's a dynamic talent who could help the Tiger-Cats win when he's focused. It's up to him to prove he wants to be that kind of player.