Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was released from rehab last week after spending two months in a drug and alcohol treatment facility. While Manziel's health and personal life are obviously the biggest concerns right now, the Browns have to be considering their next move with the 22-year-old quarterback. Cleveland's options are limited but they have to make a decision on Manziel soon.
The Browns selected Manziel with the 22nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Texas A&M product had a long history of questionable off-field decision-making at the time, and many also believed his style wasn't a fit for the NFL. Various problems with Manziel popped up during his rookie season that showed a lack of commitment to football. His partying continued at the pace of his college days and he didn't show the dedication of a true franchise quarterback.
Despite all of that, he finally saw meaningful snaps in Week 13 against the Buffalo Bills. He wound up starting two games (Week 15 and Week 16) before an injured hamstring took him out of Cleveland's final contest. As a rookie, Manziel's numbers were ugly. He completed just 18-of-35 passes for 175 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
The diminutive signal-caller also ran for 29 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. He looked completely overmatched by NFL competition and every hole in his game was exposed.
So what exactly should the Cleveland Browns do with Johnny Manziel?
Browns should release Johnny Manziel
Given the media storm that will continue to surround Manziel, the Browns might be best served by severing ties with him completely. The cap hit for the soon-to-be second-year quarterback isn't cheap. It would cost Cleveland $5.5 million just to send him away. But given that his presence on the roster could be a cumulative negative, that might actually be worth it.
After what teammates have said about Manziel and the way he carried himself as a rookie, it really might be the team's best option to just end the marriage and move on. The Browns have already made it known that the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner isn't really in their plans moving forward, so why even continue the charade?
Releasing a first-round pick after just one season would certainly be a tough pill for Browns general manager Ray Farmer to swallow, but he has to act in the best interests of his franchise. Unless he is convinced Manziel can provide some value to the roster, there is no reason to keep him around.
Browns should trade Johnny Manziel
This would be an ideal scenario for Farmer and the Browns, but the truth is, Manziel's trade value could not be lower at this point. His limited quarterbacking skills, poor footwork, mechanics and football IQ were on display for the world to see in 2014. No one is going to knock down Cleveland's door to take Manziel off its hands.
Manziel's college tape from his rookie year shows an athletically talented guy who got away with being just that in college. His ability to escape pressure and make plays at Texas A&M led to some being enamored with him during the draft process. But he's a mess mechanically, hasn't developed his actual skills as a quarterback and – like his college days – makes one read before bailing out on plays. That's not a recipe for success in the NFL.
In college, Manziel could get away with doing things like throwing the ball across his body. When you do that in the NFL, this happens. Plays like that are not an aberration, they are part of who he is. He's a wildly undersized gambler who makes bad decisions that worked in college. Now everyone has seen his many faults laid bare and it has killed his value.
At best the Browns may find a team who is willing to part with a late-round pick to take Manziel as a developmental project. If that happens, Farmer should jump on the deal and not look back.
Browns should keep Johnny Manziel
The final option for the Browns is probably the most likely scenario, they could keep Manziel and try to develop him. It will be a huge uphill climb for Manziel to just rebuild relationships within the organization. But new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and new quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell will have the Sisyphean task of transforming Manziel into a competent NFL quarterback.
It will take some miracles to even get him up to the level of a competent backup. The Browns are planning to start journeyman Josh McCown, and are reportedly interested in trying to trade up in order to select Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in this year's draft.
Manziel is an afterthought in the team's plans at the moment and it's going to take a lot from him to change that. Maybe Manziel can fix himself on and off the field. It's a real possibility, but it's also a long-shot. He has miles to go on the field, and off of it he'll be proving himself to people for the rest of his career.
The Browns are in a terrible spot as far as Manziel is concerned. And yet again, the team has put itself in that position thanks to a lack of due diligence and scouting incompetence when it comes to the quarterback position. Something has to change in Cleveland in that respect.
As for Johnny Football, whether he stays or goes, it's clear the Browns have mostly moved on. It might be best for him to get another chance somewhere else.
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Sports potw for 4/13
Should Cleveland Browns trade or release Johnny Manziel?
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 11: Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies is tagged out by catcher Wilson Ramos #40 of the Washington Nationals while trying to score on a fielders choice hit by Odubel Herrera #37 during the eighth inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on April 11, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 06: Scooter Gennett #2 of the Milwaukee Brewers gets hit by a pitch in the second inning against the Colorado Rockies during Opening Day at Miller Park on April 06, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - APRIL 11: Bruno Fratus competes in the Men's 100m freestyle finals on day six of the Maria Lenk Swimming Trophy 2015 at Fluminense Club on April 11, 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ivo Gonzalez/Getty Images)
Duke's Jahlil Okafor dunks the ball during the first half of the NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament championship game against Wisconsin Monday, April 6, 2015, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
BELLS BEACH, VICTORIA - APRIL 06: Kelly Slater of the United States of America surfs during Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach on April 6, 2015 in Bells Beach, Australia. (Photo by Kirstin Scholtz/WSL via Getty Images)
Jordan Spieth applauds after winning the Masters championship during the fourth round of the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Wisconsin's Sam Dekker, left, and Traevon Jackson sit in the locker room after their team's 68-63 loss to Duke in the NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament championship game Monday, April 6, 2015, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
San Diego Padres' Justin Upton, left, is forced out at second as Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick throws out Will Middlebrooks at first during the eighth inning of an opening day baseball game, Monday, April 6, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mike Weir, of Canada, walk with his caddie down the first fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
A large American flag is unfurled on the field before a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets on opening day at at Nationals Park, Monday, April 6, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Minnesota Twins center fielder Jordan Schafer misplays the triple hit by Detroit Tigers' Yoenis Cespedes during the sixth inning of an opening day baseball game in Detroit, Monday, April 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
A South American cowboy known as a gaucho tries not to be thrown off a wild horse during the Criolla del Prado rodeo in Montevideo, Uruguay,Thursday, April 2, 2015. Riders come from all over Uruguay and neighboring countries to participate in the rodeo. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
Santiago Martinez of Uruguay's Wanderers, left, collides with Wanderers goalkeeper Carlos Techera as they try to stop the ball during a Copa Libertadores soccer game in Montevideo, Uruguay, Thursday, April 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 06: Michael Taylor #3 of the Washington Nationals bats against the New York Mets in the second inning during Opening Day at Nationals Park on April 6, 2015 in Washington, DC.The Mets won the game 3-1. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NY - APRIL 11: The New York Islanders and the Columbus Blue Jackets take the opening faceoff in their game at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 11, 2015 in Uniondale, New York. This is the last regular season game to be played in the building as it stands now. The team will relocate to the Barclay's Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City starting in the 2015-16 season. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Clippers' Jamal Crawford, right, tries to grab a pass next to Los Angeles Lakers' Jeremy Lin during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 7, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
St. Louis Blues' Dmitrij Jaskin, of Russia, is congratulated by teammate David Backes, left, after scoring during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, April 9, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Spectators walk along the first fairway before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 9, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Duke players celebrate after the NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament championship game against Wisconsin Monday, April 6, 2015, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski cuts down the net after his team's 68-63 victory over Wisconsin in the NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament championship game Monday, April 6, 2015, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez takes the field for batting practice before the opening day baseball game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, Monday, April 6, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11: Eric Young Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Braves slides safely into third base on a RBI triple in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the Braves opening series at Turner Field on April 11, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. Andrelton Simmons #19 scored on the triple. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Manchester City's Vincent Kompany, bottom, tackles Manchester United's Daley Blind earning himself a yellow card in the process during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Sunday, April 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari, left, of Italy, commits a flagrant foul against Sacramento Kings guard Andre Miller in the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 12, 2015 in Denver. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)
Pittsburgh Penguins' Rob Scuderi (4) collides with New York Islanders' Travis Hamonic (3) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Friday, April 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Cleveland Indians' Yan Gomes celebrates after beating the tag from Houston Astros catcher Hank Conger to score in the second inning of a baseball game, Thursday, April 9, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) dunks the ball in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Washington. The Wizards won 108-99. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - APRIL 06: Darren Randolph of Birmingham City fails to stop the shot from Charlie Daniels of AFC Bournemouth during the Sky Bet Championship match between AFC Bournemouth and Birmingham City at Goldsands Stadium on April 6, 2015 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 11: Stefan Demopoulos #12 of the Providence Friars celebrates after the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championships against the Boston University Terriers at TD Garden on April 11, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.The Friars defeat the Terriers 4-3. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: The Porsche Team 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley drives during practice for the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone at Silverstone Circuit on April 10, 2015 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)