The CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats confirmed Sunday that they are attempting to negotiate a contract with quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose rights they have owned for several years. The sides have not reached a deal, but per CFL rules, the Tiger-Cats will retain Manziel's rights after making a qualifying offer by a noon deadline.
In a statement, the Tiger-Cats wrote:
"As per the negotiation list process, Johnny Manziel and his agent recently notified the Tiger-Cats that they had activated the 10-day window during which the Tiger-Cats must offer him a contract or lose his negotiation list rights. That window closed today and we can confirm that we made an offer to Manziel, and that his rights will remain on our negotiation list while discussions with he and his agent continue. We will have no further comment."
The Tiger-Cats were required to make only a minimum offer, which would be a two-year deal with a first-year salary of $54,000 Canadian -- or about $43,500 in U.S. currency.
Manziel has not played since the Cleveland Browns released him in March 2016. He posted three photos to his Instagram account early Sunday morning, his first since May. He used an emoji of the Canadian flag in a comment under one of the photos.
Otherwise, Manziel has not spoken publicly about his desire to play in the CFL or whether he prefers a team other than the Tiger-Cats. When an ESPN reporter noted his posting of the Canadian flag on the day of the deadline, Manziel responded: "Or maybe I'm just trolling."
Tiger-Cats coach June Jones, the former Hawaii and SMU coach, said earlier this winter that he wants Manziel as his quarterback.
"I think he'd be the best player to ever play up here," Jones said in an interview with the CFL's website. "He can throw it and he can run it like nobody ever has been able to do."