Johnny Manziel and the Cowboys: A Foregone Conclusion?


Johnny Manziel seems to be doing everything he can to get out of Cleveland. The Cowboys are in need of a young QB to groom. Is this match a forgone conclusion?

For years people have been trying to link QB Johnny Manziel to the Dallas Cowboys. In college, at the 2014 NFL Draft, and now late in his second professional season, Johnny Manziel to the Cowboys just made sense, right?

Well, if you’re part of the national media or just someone outside Cowboys Nation, the idea may seem like an appropriate one – Heck, maybe even poetic given the reputation of both parties involved. But to anyone close to the Cowboys and/or Johnny Manziel, this pairing sounds disastrous to everyone involved. But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen…

Once upon a time, Johnny Manziel was a brilliant QB, a top prospect, and pure marketing gold. The first-ever freshman to win the Heisman trophy could simply do no wrong. He could complete the big throws, he could improvise, he could run the ball, he could even elevate his game when the pressure was really on. That’s when Johnny Manziel was truly “Johnny Football”.

Entering the 2014 NFL Draft, rumors were rampant. Nearly everywhere you looked you saw Manziel to Dallas rumors abound. For a team that desperately needed immediate help at other positions like DT, DE, LB, FS, and CB, using a first round pick on a QB seemed a little ridiculous. To those outside of Cowboys Nation (and, we now know, those named Jerry Jones), the idea seemed brilliant.

I honestly never believed it to be a realistic possibility. I said as much quite bluntly when I wrote, Johnny Manziel to the Cowboys: Not Gonna Happen. As it turns out, the absurdity I spoke of almost became reality when it took nearly the entire front office to talk Jerry Jones out of the pick. I had no idea the unthinkable was actually – thinkable.

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Seeing now how great the Zack Martin pick was and how poorly Manziel panned out, even Jerry admitted his misjudgment this past offseason. Sadly, that doesn’t mean Jerry Jones has learned from his near-mistake or even changed his stance on Manziel’s worth. As DMN Jon Machota reported yesterday, Jerry Jones is still talking about Manziel as a missed opportunity.

Almost two seasons later, the 22-year-old QB has proven to be a disastrous first round pick. His play on the field and his behavior off the field has been nothing short of atrocious. After all his distractions, his days are seemingly numbered in Cleveland. This season will likely be Manziel’s last with the Browns, whether he plays these final games or not.

His lack of production, off-the-field volatility, and his poor clubhouse work ethic will keep his value relatively low. If traded this offseason, it’s possible Cleveland could fetch a low conditional draft pick for the young QB, but not much more.

How far and how quickly the mighty have fallen, right?

Despite everything, Jerry Jones may see Johnny Manziel as an opportunity – An opportunity to be right, to find a quick fix, to succeed where others have failed, an opportunity…to get that marketing gold.

That’s why the idea is so painfully possible.

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News considers it a possibility. And he knows this team as good as anyone. Skip Bayless may operate outside of reality on most days but when he talks Cowboys it usually carries some weight.

Jerry Jones knows Johnny Manziel brings the circus with him and when has Jerry ever shied away from a circus? Media attention and national buzz may be just what Jerry’s looking for this offseason and I think we can all admit Johnny brings both in spades.

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At 6’0” 210lbs, Johnny Manziel is undersized for an NFL QB. That isn’t impossible to overcome; after all, Drew Brees is basically his exact same size. But that’s where the Brees comparisons end.  Very few QBs can succeed in today’s NFL without a great work ethic. It’s too hard of a job to coast through and/or improvise. There are a few uber-athletic examples who may be the exception to the rule but the undersized Manziel is clearly not one of them.

We know Manziel has a special quality – an “it” factor. He can improvise in a way very few can. But that just isn’t enough. He needs to fundamentally change and become a student of the game. Even then, success is far from a sure thing. But only then is success a possibility.

For as terrible of an idea as this is (Johnny Manziel as a Cowboy), it’s unfortunately not the most preposterous thing in the world, considering Jerry Jones is still the most influential character at Valley Ranch. Could Jerry convince Stephen Jones and/or Will McClay to sign off on a trade if it was only for a conditional 6th rounder? Maybe. And that’s probably all it would take – Just one guy in his corner.

Next: Cowboys Draft: 5 QB Possibilities

The last thing the Dallas Cowboys need is a circus and Johnny Manziel is exactly that.

Is Johnny Manziel to the Cowboys a forgone conclusion? Certainly not, but history suggests the idea of it happening can’t be disregarded either.