The saga of Johnny Manziel continues for the Cleveland Browns just as the quarterback is close to leaving rehab. There’s going to be a lot of scrutiny on the team along with the face that HBO’s “Hard Knocks” is really knocking on their door to take part in the docu-series this summer. Don’t forget the Browns are also still dealing with the “Textgate” scandal from the NFL where general manager Ray Farmer sent illegal text messages to the Browns sidelines during games last season.
Just one thing would give any NFL team pause, but the Browns have got several issues to deal with right now, plus the NFL is still pushing hard for them to take part in Hard Knocks. I think it would be smart for them to let it all out in the series plus it would be great watching.
Less than a year ago, a text message from Johnny Manziel (and perhaps some advice from a homeless man) convinced the Browns and owner Jimmy Haslam to trade up to No. 22 and take the Texas A&M quarterback.
Now the Browns are reportedly prepared for life after Manziel, who struggled in five games as a rookie and entered a rehab program earlier this year.
“I think about 90 percent [the Browns] have moved on [from Manziel] in their own minds except that they really don’t know who they’re going to get when Johnny leaves rehab, which has been an extended stay — a two-month stay,” ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said Tuesday during an appearance on Mike & Mike, via NJ.com. “He should be getting out in the first week of April if they’re satisfied that he’s ready to go out and get into society and whatever deep-rooted problems that he had has been addressed. OK, now he’s part of your depth chart. You have Josh McCown.”
Ah yes, McCown, the journeyman quarterback the Browns signed last month, presumably to mentor Manziel. Except that, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, McCown could be the bridge quarterback to whoever the team targets as its next face of the franchise — and that could be decided in the coming weeks.
“I think the Browns are fully prepared to start McCown this year, but they will continue to look for chances to upgrade the position,” Cabot wrote over the weekend. “I think they’ll try to trade up to draft Marcus Mariota, and I also think they could make another run at Sam Bradford on draft day.”
The Eagles traded for Sam Bradford in March, but the Browns were willing to give up a first-rounder for Bradford, the top pick in the 2010 draft who battled injuries for much of his time in St. Louis. And it sounds like Cleveland could still be in the Bradford business if they miss out on Mariota.
More from Cabot: “If [the Browns] don’t land one of those two, I do think McCown will be their man in 2015. They are also big on Connor Shaw, who could start games for them this season if necessary. As for Manziel, they’ll see what happens when he gets out of rehab soon. At this point, I don’t think they can get much in a trade. Maybe Jerry Jones is still interested.”
My God. We’re having a conversation about Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ perceived incompetence getting the Browns out of a jam. We say “perceived” because the Cowboys won the NFC East and a playoff game last season. And more importantly, we’re convinced that Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones, Jerry’s son, isn’t easily distracted by shiny objects.
Of course, all this could have been avoided if the Browns took the advice of the $100,000 study they commissioned that concluded Teddy Bridgewater would be a better NFL quarterback than Manziel.
At least the Browns have one thing in their favor is that everyone seems to agree that the new uniforms are great.