Johnny Manziel rumors took an interesting turn on March 12. All 32 NFL teams passed on claiming Johnny Manziel as he cleared waivers and officially became an NFL free agent. A report from ESPN confirms that after the Cleveland Browns decided to cut Manziel, no other NFL team stepped up to claim him off waivers. Instead, all 32 teams opted to pass on him under the terms of his current contract. There had been a lot of teams linked to Manziel in prior rumors, but it now appears like he could have no teams interested in signing him.
After the Cleveland Browns selected him in the first-round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Johnny Manziel signed a four-year, $8,248,596 contract, including a $4,318,980 signing bonus, $7,998,596 in guaranteed money, and an average annual salary of $2,062,149. The Browns still owe him the remainder of the money on his contract, unless a new NFL teams signs him at a higher rate. Currently, another NFL franchise could sign him at the league minimum and the Browns would have to cover the difference.
What these latest Johnny Manziel rumors seem to confirm is that no NFL franchise feels that he is worth paying roughly $2.2 million for next year. This is a strong indication that Manziel’s off-field behavior has caught up with him in a big way. There are some NFL analysts using the term “black-balled” to describe what the former Texas A&M quarterback is going through, but most also agree that he has brought this on himself.
If this truly is the end of the road for Manziel, his NFL career does not end with very glowing statistics. Manziel appeared in 15 games for the Cleveland Browns, starting just eight of them over his two-year stint. He has finished his time in Cleveland with 1,675 passing yards, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions, a completion rate of 57 percent and a quarterback rating of 74.4. While some Browns fans wanted him to get a real shot at winning the starting quarterback job, the front office was done giving him opportunities.
The Johnny Manziel rumors have quieted down when it comes to NFL teams expressing interest in signing him. This doesn’t mean that a team won’t step up and offer him a minimum wage deal before the camps open. It simply confirms that no team feels he is worth around $2 million. There is still a possibility that the NFL could take action against him based on his off-field problems. He could face a suspension due to his link to several domestic violence allegations before the 2016 NFL season gets started.
For now, Manziel becomes a free agent in a market that is very short on dependable starting quarterbacks. It would have been the perfect situation for Manziel to have leverage to get out of Cleveland, specifically to a team with a better shot at contending for the playoffs. He did get out of Cleveland, but not in a fashion that kept his stock high enough to warrant a full contract. It’s unclear which direction that the Browns will go next, but there are several quarterbacks in the upcoming NFL Draft who could wind up in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Browns will be linked to this drama for many seasons to come, much like how the Denver Broncos are still associated with Tim Tebow. At least the Broncos found success with Tebow and didn’t have to deal with the bad press that follows Manziel everywhere he goes. The Browns are also still on the hook for Manziel’s salary, as he will count against the salary cap for two more seasons. Will the Johnny Manziel rumors start up again soon? Or are his days on an NFL team coming to an abrupt end?
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