It’s always hard for an NFL team to cut ties with a first-round selection. After all, this is essentially the front office admitting that they totally botched what should have been a sure-fire pick. But for the Cleveland Browns, the time to finally admit their mistake with Johnny Manziel could be arriving by the end of this summer.
He seemed like a future star after becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman trophy. The Texas A&M star then put up another strong showing in his sophomore season, despite not winning the Heisman again. This was all the push Manziel needed to convince himself that he was ready for the NFL.
Johnny Football made himself eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft, eventually going to the Cleveland Browns, as they traded up to draft him 22nd overall. This should have been a great marriage, given that Manziel was an excellent college quarterback and Cleveland hasn’t had a decent signal caller for the past decade and a half. What’s more is that it seemed like a great choice for the fans of Cleveland, who’ve been looking for any kind of spark that could make the normally dismal Browns worth watching.
But so far, everything has gone terribly wrong…
First off, Manziel made more headlines for his hard-partying ways and wide range of celebrity friends than he did with practice habits or work ethic. The result was an under-prepared Manziel putting up little resistance to Brian Hoyer, who walked away with the starting job unscathed. It wasn’t until Week 15 that Johnny Football was finally able to unseat Hoyer and get his chance to shine.
The result was a disaster as he completed 10 of 18 passes for 80 yards and two interceptions. What’s worse is that the Browns got skunked 30-0, ending the miserable NFL debut of Manziel. The following week he was off to another terrible start against the Carolina Panthers, only to pull his hamstring and end his rookie season.
This was only the beginning, though, because he checked into a rehab facility after the Super Bowl as a final hope for turning around his out-of-control lifestyle. It was at this point that Cleveland inked a deal with 35-year-old Josh McCown, who showed flashes of brilliance with the Bears. Given everything that Cleveland has already been through with Manziel, they seem more than ready to move on from the talented, but troubled quarterback.
McCown will enter the preseason as the starting quarterback, but there’s still a competition open. If Manziel can outplay McCown in camp, it would at least justify keeping him on the roster, despite the potential for his antics. However, assuming he shows a lack of improvement from last year, where he looked nothing like the guy who dominated college teams while at Texas A&M, then it would be easy to see Cleveland cutting him. After all, what team wants a high-profile backup around who creates a media circus wherever he goes.