Published on November 14, 2022 at 2:45 p.m.
Ten-year veteran quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell could
A report from The Sports Network (TSN) said Monday that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have traded the rights to the two-time Gray Cup-winning QB and former Canadian Football League MVP. Mitchell, 32, planned to test the waters of free agency in February, but the trade gives him and Hamilton a chance to sign a contract.
Around 4 p.m. Monday, the Tiger-Cats confirmed the ante heading to Calgary are two draft picks — a third next spring and a fifth round in 2024 — and future considerations.
The CFL has a salary cap which usually means that only one quarterback per team receives a big salary. Evans is expected to earn $455,000 next season, according to 3DownNation. Adding Mitchell would likely require a roster change or a contract overhaul.
Hamilton’s last team to win the Gray Cup — in 1999 — had a quarterback who enjoyed a career renaissance in his early 30s. Danny McManus was 33 when he arrived in Hamilton in 1998 and led the club to back-to-back Gray Cup berths, with a last-game loss to Calgary presaging a decisive rematch win in 1999.
— Dave Naylor (@TSNDaveNaylor) November 14, 2022
There was a growing consensus among CFL sources that Bo Levi Mitchell was going to wear the Tiger-Cats colors in 2023. The Stampeders trading his rights to Hamilton are setting the stage for that to happen. https://t.co/zu2H6zWMe0#HamOnt #Ticats #CalStampeders #LCF pic.twitter.com/GlhIWXwyNh
-Justin Dunk (@JDunk12) November 14, 2022
Two relatively recent Gray Cup champions had veteran quarterbacks. The Toronto Argonauts won in 2017 with Ricky Ray, 38, and the Ottawa Redblacks in 2016 did so with Henry Burris, 41. Mitchell and the Stampeders, however, were on the other side of those results.
Most recently, Mitchell suffered a shoulder injury in 2021 and then lost the starting job to Jake Maier midway through that season. He did not throw a pass in a game during the second half of the regular season. Mitchell came off the bench Nov. 6 to briefly spark a Calgary run in an eventual West Division semifinal loss to the BC Lions, completing 8 of 11 passes for 147 yards.
Evans, who turns 29 on Thursday, was on the other end of a midgame quarterback switch in a first-round playoff loss. Evans was replaced by Matt Shiltz in the third quarter in Hamilton’s 25-17 loss to the Montreal Alouettes in the Eastern semi-finals on Nov. 6.
The loss ended an unlucky season for the Tiger-Cats. The club signed on to Evans as a starter last winter after he and veteran Jeremiah Masoli (now with the Ottawa Redblacks) both enjoyed bright moments as Hamilton led the East Division and played back-to-back games of the Gray Cup (sandwiched around a canceled COVID-season) in 2019 and ’21.
The Tiger-Cats finished 8-10, including 6-9 with Evans behind center. Evans passed for 3,883 yards and his 8.5 average per attempt ranked fifth in the nine-team CFL. But the Tiger-Cats struggled with turnovers, with Evans throwing the most interceptions in the league (16, with 16 touchdowns) and also being charged with the most fumbles.
Mitchell, a native of Katy, Texas, entered the professional football radar while playing with the Eastern Washington Eagles of the Championship Football Subdivision. (East Washington’s hottest former football player is Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp.) He joined the Stampeders in 2012. During his six seasons as a starter, the Stampeders have reached the Gray Cup four times, winning twice.
The wins came in 2014 against the Tiger-Cats — the game where a penalty nullified a Brandon Banks punt return for a touchdown that would have put Hamilton ahead — and 2018 against Ottawa. Mitchell was named Most Valuable Player in both games. His MOP victories were in 2016 and ’18.
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