Here’s why I think Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel makes sense as a possible back-up for Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys next season.
Earlier this week the Cleveland Browns hired Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to be there next head coach. It is widely believed that the Jackson hire will mean the end of second year quarterback Johnny Manziel in Cleveland. Manziel has been a notorious pain in the neck for the Browns, and his off-field antics certainly contributed to the firing of former head coach Mike Pettine. A possible Manziel move to the Dallas Cowboys has been the topic of wild speculation for some time, and now that storyline is heating up again.
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Manziel is a highly polarizing figure among Cowboys fans. After winning the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M, Manziel became a football god to Aggie’s fans. However, since winning the award for college football’s best player, Johnny Football has made more headlines for his partying than for his play on Sundays. That being said, the young signal caller has played fairly well at times in limited action over two seasons with Cleveland. But what makes him a good fit for Dallas, and at what cost?
The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need of two things. They need a quality back-up quarterback, and they need a young passer to groom behind starter Tony Romo. Manziel can be both of these things. Despite having already spent two seasons in the National Football League, Johnny just turned 23 years old in December.
Manziel makes sense as the primary back-up to Romo because his style of play is similar in a lot of ways to the Cowboys franchise QB. Manziel moves in the pocket and extends plays with his legs. He is a better runner than Romo ever was, but Manziel doesn’t tend to use his running ability as option one. With time to mature behind Romo, Manziel may yet develop into a reliable NFL starter.
Mature, of course, is the operative word in that last sentence. Manziel has not yet shown the level of maturity one would want from a professional quarterback. His inability to stay out of the tabloid headlines has been a constant headache for the Browns. It is also the reason they are about to part ways with the 22nd overall pick from just two years ago.
The Cowboys would likely be able to get Manziel for a sixth round pick, possibly even the sixth rounder form 2017. If the team is patient however, Cleveland may decide to cut Manziel. Given that Johnny has all but declared that his preferred destination would be Dallas, the Cowboys would be able to sign him on the cheap.
Dallas has it’s fair share of controversial players in the past, and a players past has never stopped the front office from bringing in a talented individual. This strategy has not always worked (Greg Hardy), but it has at times (Charles Haley). In fact, the Cowboys pride themselves in being able to provide an environment for such players to reclaim their careers. It is widely known that owner/general manager Jerry Jones is enamored with the abilities of Manziel, and he would relish the chance to turn Johnny into a viable NFL starter.
If the Cowboys do end up with Manziel, or another young free agent quarterback, the team would be wise to consider using a draft pick on one as well. With Romo nearing the end of his career, Dallas can not have enough young arms to develop. I personally believe the chances are quite high that Manziel will be in Cowboys training camp this spring. If that happens, get ready for the media circus in Oxnard.
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