Bo Levi Mitchell has accomplished everything that a star quarterback could in the CFL.
Individual glory, Grey Cup victories and a slew of awards. However, there is one reward for success that Mitchell has yet to experience; being wooed by multiple franchises for his services. Bo has spent his decade long career for Calgary.
That’s fantastic for building a local legacy, but it’s rather limiting when it comes to exposing yourself to a steady stream of compliments and free dinners from rival executives when free agency is around the corner. This is the closest that Mitchell has been to being a free man. Hamilton has the inside track before the start of free agency to get a deal done with the future first ballot Hall of Famer, but nothing is set in stone and as of now we have no idea where he will be slinging passes next season.
Due to Mitchell not telling me where his final destination will be and my own experience of being “free” is limited to cooking more shrimp when my girlfriend is flying (she is a flight attendant) I cannot offer you any real journalistic insight. Instead, here is what I would do if I was the other general managers scattered throughout Canada to bag the big prize.
If Nathan Rourke does indeed leave, I would immediately remind Mitchell that BC is the only team that had three receivers in the top nine in yards last season and would assure him that locking up James Butler was the team’s No. 2 priority. On the wooing side, did you know that for the low price of $7,500 you can get a bench at Stanley Park dedicated to someone you love? Oh, sure it may look odd to have John Hufnagel’s name on a bench but if it gets the job done, why not?
I would have a luxury van on standby for the 4.5-hour drive from BC Place to the gorgeous wine region of Osoyoos, home to some of Canada’s best wines and if Mitchell wants to surf and snow ski the same day, we will make sure a tour is set up for him at Tofino on Vancouver Island.
This is going to be a harder sell from a football side; hey, all teams go through re-builds. However, we have seen Chris Jones turn around franchises before and Victor Cui’s background in sports and overall intelligence is pretty impressive.
My pitch would be Mitchell gets 50 per cent off all purchases made at the West Edmonton Mall and Dexter McCoil Sr. apologizes for picking off Bo in the 2015 Western Final. I was going to make the joke the team would bestow #99 for him to wear until I remembered DL Christian Rector sported the jersey number last season.
Doing research for this article I learned that you are not allowed to turn right on a red light on the actual island of Montreal. If Mitchell signs with the Alouettes the team needs to do what they can to allow an exception for the two-time Grey Cup champ if he makes sure to check both ways before safely and responsibly engaging in a right hand turn on an empty red light.
On top of that, Mitchell gets to stay at Hotel Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth the night before every home game and doesn’t have to pay for whatever he consumes from the mini bar including the family size Snickers bar. Finally, on weekends he does not have to live up at Olive and Gourmando for breakfast. If that doesn’t work just show him a two-minute montage of Eugene Lewis receptions.
Much like with Edmonton, Ottawa will have a trickier time selling Mitchell based on the roster alone. So, the first thing general manager Shawn Burke needs to do is re-sign Lorenzo Mauldin and get Mauldin to promise not to come near Mitchell during practice. Knowing you would be guaranteed not to have to face off against the reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award winner has to be a plus.
In the winter, the REDBLACKS would ensure there is a team of people ready to help their new quarterback and his entire family get their ice skates on and off whenever they wanted to go on the Rideau Canal. During the season, the National Gallery of Canada will donate one piece of work from the Group of Seven for his home and finally everyone in the organization promises to never bring up the 104th Grey Cup.
I have no idea how the business side works, and I am fairly sure this suggestion is wildly against the rules, but Saskatchewan swings a deal that Mitchell becomes a one per cent owner of the league’s only publicly owned teams. I have no idea what the difference is between a Class A and a Class B share but can the Riders find a way to funnel some to Mitchell?
I can already feel my editors getting angry at this suggestion, but there must be a way to get some Don Narcisse Series III shares to the two-time MOP. If that doesn’t work, how about the fans will agree for one game a year to switch from watermelons on their heads to barbecue to honour Mitchell’s Texan roots. All jokes aside, Bo would have to be attracted to bringing a Cup back to Regina for the first time in a decade.
I would say MLSE would give him a condo next to BMO field, but have you seen the real estate prices in downtown Toronto? That would be a gross and blatant violation of all salary cap rules. I would offer dinner for two at the restaurant Don Alfonso 1890 which just won first place as the best Italian restaurant in the world! It’s less than five kilometers away from the stadium so it will only be a two-hour commute away.
On top of that, the Argonauts would guarantee a minimum of three life affirming hugs from Pinball Clemons daily. On the football side, Toronto would be wise to remind Mitchell that if his goal is about winning over everything else that Toronto has captured more Grey Cups in the past decade than any other team in the CFL.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
Okay this one is not happening. Let’s just move on.
You may have noticed I went in alphabetical order with every team except for the Tiger-Cats. That’s because this is where I hope he ends up and it has nothing to do with the fact that Hamilton currently owns his rights. Hamilton hasn’t won a Grey Cup this century and that is not for a lack of trying or regular season success. They were a block in the back penalty away from upsetting Mitchell’s Stampeders in 2014 and lost in overtime to a juggernaut Blue Bombers squad in 2021. A Zach Collaros injury robbed them of a possible decade long run of success.
The Tabbies have been to four Grey Cups in the past nine seasons, and this is a fan base that deserves to celebrate on the final day of the season. Hamilton has more than enough All-Star talent on both sides of the ball and an excellent coaching staff. This pairing makes a lot of sense for Mitchell and from a legacy standpoint what better way to finish off the second half of your career then by bringing the highest level of success to a team that has done a lot of winning and a fan base that would passionately embrace a quarterback of this stature.