Less than two years removed from being selected with the 22nd overall pick in the NFL Draft, it appears QB Johnny Manziel‘s career with the Cleveland Browns is over. After a highly publicized up and down ride with the team that has resulted in benching and ultimately disapproval from
the coaching staff, it appears that the Browns are ready to move on from Manziel and his antics. Frankly, I think that is the best thing for Manziel and the Browns.
First off, I’m going to take the unpopular stance and defend Manziel. Obviously, he enjoys partying, but don’t many other professional athletes with millions of dollars at their disposal? In fact, I believe it is only publicized because Manziel is such a polarizing figure, and media outlets and companies know he’s a walking headline. I would be willing to bet that a Super Bowl winning quarterback has gone out with some teammates at some point this season, and not had it make national news.
Second, when Manziel has seen the field, he has been the best Browns’ quarterback in the past decade, and simply has not seen enough consistent playing time to build any sort of rhythm or overpowering results. Simply put, I believe the Browns have mishandled Manziel (and the team in general).
So, when you move passed all of the media headlines, I see a quarterback that is less than two years removed from being a first round pick that needs a fresh start and opportunity to learn a system, and get consistent playing time before being written off.
This is where the Cowboys come in. Owner Jerry Jones made comments to the media recently about being willing to acquire a quarterback to back up QB Tony Romo even if it took some “considerable risk.” Just a guess based
on history (Jones is reported to have wanted to draft Manziel in 2014) but I figure that Jones is referencing Manziel. At this point, it probably wouldn’t cost the Cowboys more than a fifth round pick to acquire a player with high upside, which is definitely worth the risk.
All in all, I think a Manziel trade to the Cowboys would be a perfect scenario and environment for him to succeed (and trust me, it burns to say that for an Eagles’ fan). First, Manziel is rumored to be interested in going to Dallas, as he is from Texas and went to college at Texas A&M. This may be a better environment for him, as he would be able to be surrounded by family and friends. Although, that could be a double-edged sword, as it is possible that the same people Manziel surrounds himself with are also part of his off the field issues. However, I’d be willing to bet that Manziel would be gracious enough to have an opportunity to play at home that he would be an “outstanding” citizen of sorts, simply making less headlines and being known more for his play on the field.
Second, Manziel would be able to settle into a backup role and learn the system behind oft-injured QB Tony Romo. With an off season, training camp, and a few regular season games to sit, watch and become comfortable, I think Manziel would be ready to go when called upon.
Third, the Cowboys offense has transformed in the past couple of seasons to rely on the running game first behind a tenacious offensive line. If Dallas were to add a dynamic running back, the passing game would play second fiddle, and be able to become more explosive once the defense is drawn into the box to play the run. This would benefit not only Manziel but Romo, who had his best season in 2014 when RB DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing. Not to mention that Manziel provides a dual-threat at quarterback, and would add another dimension to the Dallas offense to cause opposing defenses headaches.
Finally, by shipping a low draft pick to Cleveland for Manziel, the Cowboys would be making a low risk, high reward move that could net them their quarterback of the future. If it didn’t work out for some reason, be it more off the field issues or simply lack of talent, the Cowboys would be able to move on and draft a quarterback better suited for them.
Overall, I believe this is a move that needs to happen, and could result in a dynamic offense in Dallas for years to come.