Manziel traded to last-place Montreal in CFL
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have traded quarterback Johnny Manziel to the Montreal Alouettes, reuniting him with the coach who recruited him to Texas A&M.
Manziel, offensive tackle Tony Washington and offensive lineman Landon Rice were sent to Montreal in exchange for defensive end Jamaal Westerman, wide receiver Chris Williams and first-round picks in 2020 and 2022.
“We have acquired an exceptional quarterback with undeniable talent,” Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed said in a statement. “With his great mobility, his athletic abilities and his instinct we believe that he will have a positive impact on our offence.”
Manziel, 25, never saw the field for Hamilton, which has been led by quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Masoli tied a CFL record with nine straight 300-yard passing games before the team’s Week 5 bye.
Manziel will play for first-year Alouettes coach Mike Sherman, who recruited him to Texas A&M in 2011 as the Aggies’ head coach. Manziel redshirted in 2011 and went on to win the Heisman Trophy the following season under new coach Kevin Sumlin.
“This is a move both Kavis Reed and I felt we needed to make at this time,” Sherman, the former Green Bay Packers coach, told the Montreal Gazette. “Neither one of us believes in the status quo and felt we needed to shake things up. Johnny is someone we believe can elevate one of the most important positions on our team.
“I look forward to reuniting with Johnny again and working with him.”
The addition of Manziel comes after Alouettes starting quarterback Drew Willy left Saturday’s 25-8 loss to the Calgary Stampeders with a hand injury. Willy was replaced by backup Matt Shiltz. Montreal was already without quarterback Jeff Mathews for four to six weeks because of a foot injury.
Manziel will try to improve an offense that ranks last in the league in points scored and rushing yards, is tied for last in turnovers, and is seventh of nine teams in passing yards. The Alouettes are 1-4 and in last place in the CFL’s four-team East Division.
Manziel signed a two-year contract with the Tiger-Cats in May, looking to salvage his football career after a turbulent and unsuccessful stay with the Cleveland Browns, who made him the No. 22 overall draft pick in 2014. He was released in March 2016 after posting a 2-6 record over two tumultuous campaigns.
He had actively pursued an NFL contract this offseason and played in the developmental Spring League before the CFL deal.
Manziel has dealt with several off-field issues. In 2016, a domestic assault charge against Manziel in Dallas was dismissed after he took an anger management course and participated in the NFL’s substance abuse program. In a recent interview, he said he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has stopped drinking.
After Sunday’s trade, the Tiger-Cats offered any fan with a Manziel Hamilton jersey a complimentary $100 gift card to use in the team store if he/she wanted to return it.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.