Much of the buzz preceding Round 1 of the 2015 NFL draft has been surrounding the landing spot for former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, and therefore also the Cleveland Browns, who have two picks in the round and an apparent need to upgrade the position.
The Browns have not only been linked to a trade up with the Tennessee Titans to move to No. 2 overall to select Mariota but also in a trade scenario that would give them current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford, to allow the Eagles to snag Mariota. In either scenario, the Browns’ 2014 first-round pick, quarterback Johnny Manziel is on the outside of the roster looking in, making him a prime candidate for a trade.
If the Browns put Manziel on the trading block, don’t expect the Dallas Cowboys to come calling. Just a year ago, Stephen Jones, the Cowboys’ executive vice president, had to take a draft card bearing Manziel’s name out of his dad and team owner Jerry Jones’ hands when they selected at No. 16 in Round 1. But now, the Cowboys apparently have no intention of making a move for Manziel to replace another Browns cast-off quarterback, backup Brandon Weeden.
ESPN’s Ed Werder tweeted on Thursday that, should the Browns make a move for Bradford “or another QB,” the Cowboys are “not interested” in picking up Manziel.
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) April 30, 2015
Manziel appeared in five games for the Browns in 2014, with two starts. He completed 18 of his 35 passes, for 175 yards, no scores and two interceptions. He also rushed nine times for 29 yards and one touchdown. He spent a good chunk of the offseason in inpatient rehab and returned to the team in time for the team’s voluntary workouts earlier this month.
Browns teammate Joe Haden said that he has seen a change in Manziel, saying (via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer) that, “I could just tell he’s motivated. When I talked to him, I could tell there’s something different with him,” adding “We’re going to definitely have his back and support him, but he’s going to have to come out here and do it – come out here, be on time, study and show this is important to him.”
This new, improved Manziel does not have the Cowboys’ attention in 2015, though. They appear to be set with Weeden as Tony Romo’s backup and do not want to invest in Manziel, especially with Manziel owed over $2.2 million in 2015 and Weeden making only $660,000. Between the price tag and the expectation that Manziel would not get significant playing time given Romo’s entrenchment as the Cowboys’ starter, it makes sense that Dallas would stand pat with Weeden rather than give up more money and a draft pick to take Manziel off of the Browns’ hands.
Photo: USA Today Sports