Browns May Be in the Marcus Mariota Business but GM Ray Farmer Has No Plans to Trade Johnny Manziel

Just a day after Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine answered “sure, why not?” when asked about the potential the Browns trade up in Round 1 of next week’s NFL draft for quarterback Marcus Mariota, general manager Ray Farmer expressed the same sentiment, down to the words.

Asked Thursday in his press conference about whether the Browns indeed had interest in trading up for Mariota, he parroted his head coach’s sentiments, replying, “sure, why not,” according to multiple media reports including the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Mary Kay Cabot.

Still, Farmer backed off the Mariota speculation somewhat, saying (via Daryl Ruiter of CBS Cleveland), “I don’t know where this stuff comes from. Last year somebody asked a question about Marcus Mariota and I answered it differently than everybody else I was talking about. I got to Mariota and said, ‘Yeah, he’s good.’ From that moment on, he’s been my guy.”

No matter what may play out between now and when draft commences next Thursday, one thing was made clear in Farmer’s press conference: The Browns are not yet done with Johnny Manziel, their second of two Round 1 draft picks from 2014.

Farmer, via Cabot, stated that reports that the Browns spent the offseason trying to trade Manziel and an undisclosed number of draft picks to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford were “not true.”

He also used metaphor to describe his and the team’s approach to Manziel’s development. Via Ruiter, he said, “I like the idea of slow brewed, fresh brewed coffee. I’m going to grind my coffee beans, I’m going to get my filter out. I’m going to pour it in and let it sit, simmer and I’m going to get a good cup,” implying that Manziel simply needs development and refinement and that it’s a process requiring patience that Farmer is willing to undertake.

Manziel played in five games with two starts as a rookie, completing 18 of his 35 pass attempts for 175 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed nine times for 29 yards and a touchdown. Much of his offseason was spent in rehab for undisclosed treatment; meanwhile the Browns added 35-year old veteran passer Josh McCown to compete with and mentor the young Manziel.

Should Mariota be in the fold, that will certainly affect Manziel’s chances to be the Browns’ Week 1 starter this year. But based on Farmer’s comments Thursday, it doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily be on the trading block either.

Photo: USA Today Sports