"I had a conversation with (Alliance chairman) Tom Dundon, he's the one who informed me of what happened and that Johnny Manziel was now available," Johnston said Thursday. "He just said, 'He belongs to you in San Antonio, what are your thoughts?'
"I said, 'Let's sit back and see what the league thinks and then we'll move ahead from there.' We're just kind of in a holding pattern right now here locally in San Antonio." Manziel's contract with the Montreal Alouettes was terminated Wednesday. The league also told the eight other CFL clubs it wouldn't register a contract for Manziel if anyone tried to sign the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
The league said Manziel, a first-round draft pick by Cleveland in 2013 who soon flamed out of the NFL, breached an agreement that made him eligible for the CFL. The Commanders own Manziel's AAF rights because he played at Texas A&M. The franchise has seven regular-season games remaining.
San Antonio, coached by former Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Mike Riley, has a 1-2 record with quarterback Logan Woodside. He's second in passing yards (629) but has completed just 50 of 98 attempts and thrown five interceptions to two touchdowns.
Johnston, the former Dallas Cowboys running back and NFL broadcaster, said some big-name players have demanded bigger salaries to suit up in the AAF, but doesn't believe Manziel is one of them. "The one thing Tom wants to make sure is that everyone in the Alliance is paid the same," Johnston said. "It sounds as though Johnny Manziel is comfortable coming down here and playing at the salaries that have been established with us in the Alliance."
That would be $250,000 for three seasons, plus bonuses. Manziel was 2-6 as a starter last season, completing 106 of 165 passes (64.2 percent) for 1,290 yards with five TDs and seven interceptions. He also ran for 215 yards on 29 carries as Montreal (5-13) missed the CFL playoffs.
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