Johnny Manziel’s Best Potential Landing Spots For 2016
The Johnny Manziel talk won’t stop. One week he’s partying, the next he’s suspended. Then he’s vowing to go sober, and then reports come out that he isn’t necessarily “never” going to drink again.
All that, and the former Cleveland Browns quarterback is still facing legal problems stemming from a domestic dispute earlier this year.
While the immediate future still seems fuzzy for the troubled star, there does appear to be a silver lining: Manziel just might finally be getting it.
In a post on his Instagram, Manziel vowed to make a comeback, stating that it “can’t end like this…it won’t”.
It remains to be determined if Manziel actually has any control over how his NFL career ends, but it does look like he’s dialed in and actually cares about how things unfold from here.
That still may not land him a job in 2016, as he’s facing a four-game ban for substance abuse and could be handed a bigger suspension for attacking his girlfriend.
Still, it’s Johnny Manziel. He’s a talented, polarizing 24-year old who, if his his mind is right, could still potentially be someone’s franchise quarterback.
The odds are certainly against him, but we can’t help but wonder, if the kid puts in the work and stays clean, which teams could give him a shot.
Here are the most likely landing spots if Johnny Manziel intends to make his comeback this season:
Rex Ryan’s main issue as a head coach in the NFL has been and continues to be an inability to find a suitable quarterback for his offenses.
Tyrod Taylor seemed to be a good fit last year, but he was still inconsistent and the Bills as an organization have yet to fully back him. With the team not totally sold on him and just looking for a reason to unload the failure that is E.J. Manuel, they could look to add another talented passer to the mix.
Johnny Manziel wouldn’t for sure be the answer, but he’d fit the mold of the type of quarterback they like and he does bring upside to the table.
New York Jets
The Jets are without a doubt one of the top potential destinations for Manziel, as they’ve yet to sign Ryan Fitzpatrick and really aren’t too excited about their other options.
No one wants to see another season of Geno Smith, while both Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg are far too raw to throw into the fire in 2016.
Manziel could be a more reliable option than either Petty or Hackenberg and he’d be a switch away from Smith.
It’s likely New York finalizes a deal with Fitzmagic before going down this road, but maybe bringing in Manziel and making him a backup wouldn’t be a terrible idea, either. That’d give the Jets the freedom to finally trade or release both Smith and Petty – both of which look like missteps in the draft process.
Denver traded for Mark Sanchez and drafted Paxton Lynch, but they don’t seem to be any closer to replacing Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler.
Lynch could be the future of the franchise under center, but the fact that he remains third on the team’s depth chart could tell us a lot about where he is at the moment.
Could the Broncos survive with Sanchez for a few weeks and then give Johnny Football a try? It’s not a crazy idea. Stud pass rusher Von Miller has personally vouched for Manziel and the need for a high upside passer still exists.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are one of the numerous teams that could look at Manziel as a reclamation project and sign him to be a backup and potentially a future starter.
Alex Smith is locked in as KC’s leading man under center for now, but Andy Reid doesn’t have a future starter in place. With the Chiefs going for a deep playoff run in the next couple of years, an elite prospect may be hard to come by in the next couple of drafts.
Instead of hoping one falls into their lap, the Chiefs could instead sign Manziel to a two-year deal and see if he can develop behind Smith. Two years down the road, we could be talking about a polished Manziel taking over the Chiefs’ offense.
San Diego Chargers
San Diego is another team that could grab Manziel with an eye on the future. The Bolts are totally set with Philip Rivers for as long as he wants to play, but he could decide to retire in the next few years.
With no clear successor on the roster, San Diego could opt to nab Manziel and groom him as Rivers’ eventual replacement. The Chargers have a fine system under Mike McCoy and a nice cast of weapons. It could offer Manziel the perfect situation to improve as a person and a quarterback.
Dallas is a clear choice for Manziel, as he’s from Texas, went to Texas A&M for school and has been talked about regularly by owner Jerry Jones.
There is a need here, too, as Tony Romo is aging and increasingly an injury liability, while the Cowboys aren’t sure what they have in rookie passer Dak Prescott.
Bringing in Manziel would really stir things up, but it’s win-win situation for Dallas, who would either be giving their hometown kid a shot or getting a starter for when Romo is done.
The Redskins have to be thrown in the mix here, as the team has been very reluctant to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal and could watch him walk in free agency next year.
With nothing else to get excited about on the current roster, the team could opt to take a chance on Manziel, who could sit behind Cousins and learn the system.
If Cousins indeed jets in free agency, the Redskins could opt to let Manziel compete for the job going into 2017. With a great system and a slew of elite offensive weapons, it could be a terrific spot for Manziel to turn his career around.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees won’t be around forever, so you better believe Saints head coach Sean Payton is thinking about the future of the quarterback position.
New Orleans doesn’t have much to get excited about beyond Brees, so investing in the talented Manziel isn’t that crazy of a thought.
After all, who better to groom Manziel than a great offensive mind like Payton in a system that could easily make him a star?
Seattle could ultimately be the best spot for Manziel to rehab his image and boost his value, as he’d have zero chance of stealing Russell Wilson’s job now or ever.
Instead, he’d simply back Wilson up and learn from one of the best, while integrating himself in a winning culture with the Seahawks.
Manziel’s style is similar to Wilson’s and he could hone his craft while learning what it takes to win at the highest level. We wouldn’t hear much about him in terms of actually hitting the field, but if he wanted to improve as a person and player, few spots would truly be better.
San Francisco 49ers
There is also the idea that Manziel could head to the Bay Area, where Chip Kelly could finally get the kid he once courted at Oregon.
Manziel denied Kelly then, but with just Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick to work with in San Francisco, it’s possible Kelly could express interest in Johnny Football, yet again.
It’d be a solid situation for Manziel, as Kelly’s system could benefit him. The Niners aren’t expected to make much noise in the near future, either, so Manziel’s expectations would remain low.
Johnny Manziel Prediction
Johnny Manziel remains a catch-22 product for any new NFL team he’d join. He brings in a circus, he’s not a fully developed talent, he’s hard to trust, he’s already suspended the first four games of the 2016 NFL season and he still has an ongoing legal matter.
None of that is good, but the idea here is you’re investing in a talented kid who has a chip on his shoulder and doesn’t want his career to end with him being labeled as a bust.
It wasn’t all bad for Manziel in Cleveland. Sure, he didn’t take his job seriously enough, but he still flashed big-play ability and even had a few games where he put up strong numbers.
There is still untapped potential with Manziel, and at just 24, he could be a solid long-term investment for the right team. And if all works out, he could still make some noise this year.
So, which team looks like the logical fit? Earlier this summer we figured no team, but it’s tough to ignore the Dallas Cowboys.
Playing for Dallas would let Manziel stay close to home, sit and learn behind Tony Romo and eventually star for a team that is built well with a strong offensive line and an elite rookie running back. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones loves Johnny Football and if Manziel has his head on straight, could be willing to take the plunge.
If Manziel sticks to his word, stays clean and is dialed in on football, we think Dallas looks like his next destination. It probably was, all along.
Think Manziel is done, destined to sign with Dallas or a different team, altogether? Tell us what you think in the comments below!
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