Tony Grossi, an analyst for ESPN Cleveland, was quoted on Twitter saying that the Browns have given up on the idea of Johnny Manziel as a franchise quarterback. Manziel was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Grossi: i think the Browns have given up on the idea of Johnny Manziel as a franchise quarterback.
- ESPN Cleveland (@ESPNCleveland) April 29, 2015
Johnny Manziel was by no means a sure thing and many Browns fans wanted the team to focus on building around quarterback Brian Hoyer. By drafting Manziel Cleveland immediately attracted excessive media attention. Manziel's popularity in college and his rich playboy attitude created a spectacle, which troubled the Browns.
Manziel brought significant media attention despite not seeing the field in the regular season until late in the year. In his first career start Manziel went 10-of-18 for 80 yards, with two interceptions, and a 27.3 passer rating. The Browns were shut out in the midst of a playoff hunt. Bengals players taunted Manziel with his signature money pose. In his second career start Manziel was knocked out of the game with a hamstring injury. Describing his rookie year as underwhelming would be an understatement.
To add further problems, Manziel had difficulty earning the respect of the locker room and there were reports of him rubbing teammates the wrong way. One of these teammates was the much respected franchise left tackle Joe Thomas.
Joe Thomas said of Manziel that he had, "lost the trust of the locker room." Since the end of his rookie year Manziel has voluntarily attended rehab for substance abuse and is apparently making an effort to turn himself around. Thomas has said of Manziel recently that he is "night and day from last year." This might give some pause to the notion that the Browns have moved on from Manziel, but Cleveland's draft plans say otherwise.
Reports that the Browns offered their two first rounders for the Titans' second overall pick give a strong indication that the Browns are interested in quarterbacks Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. It is highly unlikely that the Browns would be interested in paying such a high price for the second overall pick if they were not targeting a potential franchise quarterback. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are sure to take Mariota or Winston with the first overall pick on Thursday night, with the popular sentiment having them taking Winston.
The other quarterback may not make it past the second pick. If the Browns were committed to the idea of Manziel as a franchise quarterback then such a trade would be a waste of picks that could be better spent building around Manziel. Regardless of Cleveland's interest in Manziel as their franchise QB, if they can't trade up then he may be the one their stuck with come opening day.
Either the Browns give Manziel a legitimate shot at success or the Browns first-round quarterback carousel continues. If they draft a QB in the first it would mark the third time in four years that the Browns will have taken a QB with a first round selection.
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