Sean Pendergast

Johnny Manziel Signs On With AAF, Will Play For Memphis

Johnny Manziel will be back playing in the United States now for the Memphis team in the AAF.
Screen grab from YouTube
Johnny Manziel will be back playing in the United States now for the Memphis team in the AAF.
Just a few weeks after being exiled by the entire Canadian Football League, Johnny Manziel has gotten yet another opportunity to prove himself as a worthy professional football quarterback, signing a standard player agreement with the Alliance of American Football. With his geographical AAF rights held by the San Antonio Commenders, the Commanders chose to waive Manziel, whose rights were quickly snapped up by the Memphis Express...
With his NFL career ending (for now) after the 2015 season in Cleveland, and his CFL career ending (likely, for good) earlier this year, here are things you need to know about Manziel's latest shot at professional football with the fledgling AAF, which just finished up its sixth weekend of regular season games:

The team Manziel is going to is an abomination
The Express lost to the Salt Lake City team on Saturday by a score of 22-9 to fall to 1-5 on the season. Mike Singletary, who was a joke as a head coach in the NFL with San Francisco, is the head coach for the Express and obviously hasn't gotten much better. It doesn't help that his quarterbacks this season have been Christian Hackenburg, Zach Mettenberger, and someone called Brandon Silvers. Manziel, at the very least, will be a lot more fun watching fail than watching these other hacks. do the same.

The AAF did their due diligence on what happened with Manziel and the CFL
When Manziel was cut loose by the Montreal Alouettes, and subsequently banned from signing with any other CFL teams, speculation began percolating as to exactly why this happened. For obvious reasons, like multiple trips to rehab and Johnny's entire act on Instagram for the calendar year of 2016, people began speculating that his CFL exile could have been substance abuse related. However, this signing with the AAF is a strong indication that it was probably a result of something far less harmful, as the league's co-founder Bill Polian said the league did their homework before signing Manziel:

"We are pleased to welcome Johnny Manziel to Alliance of American Football, which we've always described as a league of opportunity for talented players to launch or revitalize their pro football careers," league co-founder Bill Polian said in a statement Saturday night. "We completed extensive background work to determine whether it would be appropriate for Johnny to play this season, and after consulting with many people familiar with his situation, we concluded that it would be good for him to resume his pro football career here at The Alliance."
It's telling that an AAF team in Texas would pass on acquiring Manziel
There was a time where it would have been a no-brainer for a team in the state of Texas to take "the kid from Kerrville," given what he would mean to the box office. However, San Antonio is leading their AAF division right now, so their GM, former Dallas Cowboy Darryl Johnston, chose to go in a different direction:

"One of the most important things I have already learned is when there is an opportunity to get better ... you get better," Johnston said. "The challenge is finding the balance in what I know and what I have learned and finding the best solution to get better as a team. I truly believe that the moves necessary to add Johnny to our roster do not make us better at this time."
I do wonder if all of the Aggies living in San Antonio would rather watch their AAF team win games, or watch Johnny Manziel do "Johnny Football" things, final score of games be damned.

Johnny Manziel is signing a standard AAF agreement, which means modest football money
The standard AAF agreement is a three year, $250,000 deal, with a chance to make more if certain incentives are achieved. Players are allowed to break their AAF contracts if they are called upon to play in the NFL, however, it would seemingly preclude a player from moving over to the XFL, a competitive professional spring league, which begins playing games in February of 2020. That said, Manziel found a way out of his CFL deal, so who knows where Manziel will be playing football this time next year. For now, he is back playing stateside again, on a QB depth chart in Memphis that looks like a "30 for 30" of NFL quarterback failure.

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