A report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday indicating that Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak has talked with free agent quarterback Johnny Manziel caught a lot of people by surprise.

Waived by the Cleveland Browns last month after just two seasons with the team, the former first-round pick has not been linked to any other team since.

The primary issues here are off the field.

With a domestic violence case still in the court and another grand jury expected to be seated within the next two weeks, teams are not going to take a chance on the former Heisman winner until that is settled.

Add in Manziel’s disastrous two-year tenure in Cleveland that included a long stint in rehab and multiple off-field issues, and most figured he wouldn’t receive any real interest until the troubled quarterback got his house in order off the field.

So why is this report coming out? Are the Broncos really interested in the embattled young quarterback? The answers to these two questions are rather simple.

First off, Denver is currently engaged in a standoff with the San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick regarding a potential trade that would sent the embattled signal caller to the Broncos.

After losing Brock Osweiler to the Houston Texans in free agency and seeing Peyton Manning retire, the defending champs are in a desperate situation at quarterback. As of right now, the newly acquired Mark Sanchez would be the team’s starting quarterback. That’s just plain gross for everyone involved.

This could very well be Kubiak and Co. allowing Manziel’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to leak a story about a conversation that took place between the two sides — a conversation that reportedly didn’t include the former Texas A&M signal caller signing with Denver.

Like most stories breaking this time of the year, this really is a non-story. It’s more about a quarterback getting his name out there and the Broncos leveraging another team in trade discussions.

If something were to happen regarding Manziel’s domestic violence case between now and training camp, the Broncos might be interested in the quarterback.

Schefter himself reported as much on Thursday:

“Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak has spoken with free-agent quarterback Johnny Manziel as a potential fit for the team’s roster down the line, according to two sources connected to the team.”

“Down the line” being the important aspect of this report. Until something changes regarding Manziel’s off-field behavior and the legal situation he finds himself in, Denver would be smart to avoid him.

Despite his personal feeling towards Manziel, it’s safe to say Kubiak knows this.