After giving so many free passes, the Cleveland Browns finally announced today that they are releasing quarterback Johnny Manziel back out to the wilds of NFL country in March. The development comes after Manziel’s latest off-field incident last week, during which the police were called to a domestic dispute between Manziel and his girlfriend. The Browns do not currently have the cap space to release Manziel, but will once the new NFL year begins on March 9th.
Below are a couple of graphs showing the once promising quarterback’s play during his first two seasons in the NFL and the Browns’ poor performance during 2015.
Now, it’s just a matter of time before Johnny Manziel is an ex-Brown.
Johnny Football is almost officially a cautionary tale after the Browns released a harsh statement Tuesday condemning the troubled quarterback’s recent actions — and making clear their intention.
“We’ve been clear about expectations for our players on the field. Johnny’s continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates, and the reputation of our organization,” Browns executive vice president Sashi Brown said in the statement.
“His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules. We will have no further comment at this time.”
Under league rules, Manziel cannot be cut until Feb. 8, the day following the Super Bowl. However, according to ESPN, salary cap math means the Browns will wait until March 9 when the NFL calendar flips to a new year and the cap goes up. Releasing Manziel will count $4.6 million against the cap.
Manziel has spent most of the offseason being documented at various parties in cell phone videos, but the final straw came over the weekend. Manziel is being investigated by police in Fort Worth and Dallas for potentially assaulting ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley in an incident early Saturday. The police used a helicopter to search for the former Heisman Trophy winner until he was found.
The league is now investigating the incident. Crowley was uncooperative with officers but said she was involved in a disturbance with an ex-boyfriend.
The Browns gave Manziel multiple chances over his first two seasons in the league, but he wasted them all. Manziel entered rehab last offseason, following a wasted rookie season, and earned the respect of his teammates even as he was named the backup behind Josh McCown.
Manziel was on the field intermittently throughout the 2015 season as McCown battled injuries, and was given a four-game audition to end the season and prove he should be the starter heading into the 2016 season. On the field, he showed sparks of the playmaker that made him a first-round by the Browns. Off the field, he showed why he was a risky first-round pick.
After suffering a concussion in Week 16 against the Chiefs, Manziel went AWOL and missed a checkup with Browns doctors, earning him a fine. He was reportedly wearing a disguise and going under the alias “Billy” while clubbing in Las Vegas.
Since that time, he has been partying in Texas amid reports new Browns coach Hue Jackson only accepted the position on the condition the team would part ways with Manziel.
There is no doubt that will happen now.
This weekend’s alarming report was not the only time Manziel and Crowley were allegedly involved in a domestic dispute. When the two were still dating in October, police in Avon, Ohio, received an emergency call after she and Manziel were spotted fighting as they drove near the quarterback’s home on the west side of Cleveland. Manziel was not arrested, but the matter prompted an NFL investigation into whether he violated the league’s personal conduct policy.
If Manziel can clear his legal hurdles, the question will then become: Is another team willing to take a risk on him?
Manziel has been linked to the Cowboys since owner Jerry Jones had to be talked out of drafting him to be Tony Romo’s predecessor. But even Jones must be wary of giving Manziel a second chance after he so badly screwed up his first, second, third, fourth and other chances given by everyone.