Johnny Manziel has put the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on the clock.
A league source said Wednesday night the former Heisman Trophy winner’s representatives have requested the Ticats present their client with a contract offer. Manziel is on Hamilton’s 45-man negotiation list, giving the franchise exclusive Canadian negotiating rights to the quarterback.
Any player on a negotiation list can request a team offer him a contract. The franchise then has 10 days to do so.
A CFL official said if an offer is made, the player has the right to accept or reject it. A rejection would result in the team continuing to retain the player’s neg list rights for a year from the date the offer was turned down.
Should no offer be made, the player would automatically come off the negotiation list. That would allow any of the remaining eight CFL teams to put the player on their list, potentially kick-starting the entire process all over again.
Also during the 10-day period, Hamilton could trade Manziel’s rights. But it’s unclear whether the team acquiring those rights would still have to offer Manziel a deal within the original 10-day window or if Manziel’s camp would again have to demand a contract to initiate a new 10-day deadline.
The CFL official added Hamilton could simply offer Manziel a two-year contract — one year plus team option — for the league minimum of $53,000 annually. Chances are good the offer would be rejected, thus giving the Ticats a year to work out a suitable deal with Manziel.
Hamilton put Manziel through a workout last month. Afterwards Kent Austin, the Ticats vice-president of football operations, said the club wasn’t interested in signing the former Texas A&M star at that time.
Manziel has been on Hamilton’s negotiation list since his college days. The Cleveland Browns took Manziel in the first round, No. 22 overall in the 2014 NFL draft.
He spent two seasons with Cleveland, posting a 2-6 record as a starter before being released in March 2016.
But Manziel would have to do more than sign a contract to play in the CFL. The league has said Manziel would also be required to undergo an assessment with domestic violence prevention officials and meet with commissioner Randy Ambrosie before it would approve a deal. In January 2016, Manziel was charged after being accused of hitting and threatening a former girlfriend.
He reached a dismissal agreement requiring him to complete an anger management class. Manziel also had to attend a domestic violence impact panel and take part in a substance-abuse program.