There was more interest than normal in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats preseason opener as Johnny Manziel made his Canadien Football League debut.
NFL teams were interested as well, as Jets GM Mike Maccagnan was in attendance, via ESPN's Mike Rodak. In addition to Maccagnan, Texans pro scout Chris Blanco was also in the press box.
Manziel enjoyed a decent debut in his new league, completing 9 of 11 passes for 80 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones has already publicly told the media that QB Jeremiah Masoli is "absolutely" the team's starting quarterback. Masoli played college football at Oregon and Ole Miss before joining the CFL in 2013.
Manziel last played in the NFL in 2015. In 15 games played with the Browns over two seasons, Manziel completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,675 yards with 7 TD and 7 INT. He added 259 rushing yards and one touchdown.
The Jets and the rest of the NFL will continue to monitor Manziel's progress in Canada.
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The chances that Maccagnan is considering bringing Manziel to compete for a job with the Jets are practically zero. Regardless of the fact that they already have developing Sam Darnold as their main priority at the position, Manziel is under contract now and it's generally seen as against CFL policy to allow a contracted player to leave to pursue an NFL opportunity.
While Maccagnan probably has as much curiosity about the next chapter of Manziel's story as anyone else, it's more likely that the main purpose of this trip was just to identify some talented prospects to keep tabs on for next year or to check on the progress of some of the players he's signed in the past that are now playing in the CFL. The Jets have tapped into the Canadian market several times since Maccagnan's arrival, so this is nothing new.
On Toronto's team alone, wide receiver Chandler Worthy and running back Brandon Burks each caught a touchdown pass, with Burks spectacularly breaking several tackles. Each was a player Maccagnan brought to the Jets over the past few years. In addition, edge defender Frank Beltre - who was with the Jets in preseason last year - was making his debut on defense and McLeod Bethel-Thompson - a minicamp tryout from last year - started at quarterback. No doubt Maccagnan will instruct his scouts north of the border which players they should be keeping tabs on during the season.