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July 23, 2018

Als acquire Johnny Manziel in blockbuster deal

Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes have acquired quarterback Johnny Manziel from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the two teams confirmed Sunday evening.

In the deal, the Ticats added national defensive end Jamaal Westerman, international wide receiver Chris Williams and two first-round draft selections (2020, 2021) from the Montreal Alouettes in exchange for Manziel, international offensive lineman Tony Washington and national offensive lineman Landon Rice.

The news was initially reported by TSN’s Duane Forde at around 6:45 p.m. ET, and confirmed an hour later.

Manziel is reunited with Alouettes’ head coach Mike Sherman, who recruited him in the NCAA, in 2012, with the Texas A&M Aggies.

In two pre-season games with the Tiger-Cats, he completed 21 of his 31 passes (67.7%), including one for a touchdown. He also kept the ball six times for 19 rushing yards.

Manziel, just 25 years old, has been one of the biggest stories of the season despite not even playing a down with the Ticats. The former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round NFL draft pick was a marquee signing this off-season, ending a year-long period of anticipation over his arrival in the three-down game.

But despite all the fanfare, the Ticats stuck with Jeremiah Masoli as their starting quarterback, and he’s continued to play well under Head Coach June Jones, most recently tying a CFL record with nine straight 300-yard passing games.

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For the Alouettes, adding a dynamic, talented quarterback with the potential of Manziel makes sense. The Als have struggled to a 1-4 start, scoring only 69 points in the process for a league-worst 13.8 points per game.

Drew Willy and Jeff Mathews have both started games already this season, while the team recently signed Vernon Adams Jr. to bolster its quarterback depth chart.

Manziel was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the first round, 22nd overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. The 24-year-old played in five games in his rookie season, connecting on 18 of 35 passes for 175 yards and two interceptions. He also rushed nine times for 29 yards and a touchdown that year.

In his second season with the Browns in 2015, Manziel played in nine games while completing 129 of his 223 passes for 1,500 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. The Texas A&M alum also rushed 37 times for 230 yards that season.

Manziel was released by the Browns in March of 2016 and did not sign with any other NFL team since.

The Alouettes’ first game is on Thursday when they host the Edmonton Eskimos. However, Manziel is not expected to start that soon after being acquired.

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