Johnny Manziel, complete with his money gesture for Browns fans, is coming off a rather rocky rookie season. Manziel then checked himself into rehab for undisclosed reasons which the Browns were quick to show their support. However, professional football is a business and the Browns are moving forward in the quarterback position.
ESPN reports that Browns head coach Mike Pettine are still looking for a starting quarterback while Manziel undergoes treatment. Couple that with the recent signing of Josh McCown, Manziel has basically dropped to third on the depth chart. Josh McCown has, according to MSN, stated that he would like to mentor Manziel on what it would take to be a quarterback in the NFL which is expected as a consummate professional.
However, the real wild card in this situation is Brian Hoyer. Hoyer and Manziel competed for the starting position at the start of last season and each would supplant the other at one point before Hoyer finished the season while Johnny Football was on injured reserve.
Hoyer is currently a free agent. The rumors surrounding Hoyer range from the Browns working on resigning him, as reported by SB Nation, to trade rumors involving the Texans or Titans, as reported by ESPN.
With Manziel’s emergence from treatment still to be determined and with his erratic play during his rookie season, the Browns will also have the draft as a possible long-term option for a quarterback. Jameis Winston, who has own character issues, and Marcus Mariota will both likely be off the board by the time the Browns make their first draft selection with the No. 12 pick. Other top prospects like Brett Hundley of UCLA and Bryce Petty of Baylor would still be available and have more experience than Manziel would since Johnny came out of Texas A&M after only his sophomore season. They would also not have the excess baggage that Manziel has clearly shown with his penchant for partying, lack of work ethic, and so on.
As Pete Prisco of CBS News pointed out, those who want to declare Johnny Maziel’s career dead only have six quarters of football on which to base that decision. The problem is that statement is highly misleading. Manziel was drafted in the first round and was only given a shot at starting when it was clear that the Browns season was not going to end with a playoff berth. However, the Browns’ coaching staff evaluated Manziel during practices throughout the season and decided that he was no better than the back-up quarterback.
So, when the Browns do re-sign Hoyer, then look for the trade rumors to pick up as Johnny Manziel’s time in Cleveland will come to a rather abrupt end.
[Photo by Elsa/Getty Images]