The college football world was taking by storm six years ago. Johnny Manziel became a household name for his scrambling ability as well as his big persona. Those two things, along with wins over Alabama and Oklahoma, were what won him the Heisman. Before him, there was never any freshman to win the Heisman. He achieved something the greats of Barry Sanders, Herschel Walker or Bo Jackson weren’t able to do at his age. The kid was larger than life earning him the moniker of Johnny Football or Money Manziel (due to him flashing money symbols after touchdowns).
With the new celebrity status, all eyes were on him. The spotlight off the field was much brighter than the spotlight on the field. He became friends with the likes of Drake and LeBron James while still trying to compete in college football. All of this ended up being one of the biggest falls from graces we’ve seen, in the sports world. Manziel went on to be drafted 22nd overall to the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft. After two tumultuous seasons on and off the field, the legend of Johnny Football was out of the NFL.
Fast forward to today:
Johnny Manziel is in the midst of “Comeback SZN”. A term he has coined as he tries to get back into the NFL. Manziel has competed at a couple Pro Days as well as the first game of the Spring League. Per reports, Manziel’s potential is still “off the charts”. Here’s three teams that we could see him in uniform for next season.
Three Potential Landing Spots for Johnny Manziel
New head coach, Jon Gruden, has been a long documented Johnny Manziel fan. Even going as far as saying he would draft him, in 2014, if he was a head coach. Quarterback Derek Carr signed a long-term extension keeping him with the Raiders until 2023. This situation could be just what Manziel ordered, though. Sitting behind Carr while learning from quarterback guru Jon Gruden. If Manziel impresses, the Raiders do have a way out of the Carr contract if he is unable to perform at the level that warranted his contract. In that scenario, they would have Manziel to step in after spending a year getting his feet wet.
New England Patriots
Reports have been that the Patriots have talked with Manziel on multiple occasions. They have had scouts at both Pro Days as well as the Spring League game. Given Bill Belichick’s track record, this would be the most ideal situation he could find himself in. Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger and the Patriots don’t have their heir apparent. Last season, the Patriots traded away Jimmy Garoppolo as well as Jacoby Brissett. Enter, Johnny Football. At just 25 years of age, he still has plenty of time to develop behind Brady. Belichick has been able to take players from the Brown’s organization and turn them into solid contributors. Could Manziel be next?
New York Giants
The Giants are, kind of, in a similar position with Eli Manning as the Patriots are with Brady. Although they do have Davis Webb on their roster, the Giants are still looking for their next franchise leader. Mock drafts have them taking one of the top quarterbacks, in the draft, whether it’s Josh Allen or Sam Darnold. By signing Manziel, the Giants could prolong their search while adding a top talent at another position of need; Running back. If the Browns take QB at one, the Giants would be in position to take Saquon Barkley. Arguably, the best overall prospect in this year’s draft. Manziel would give them a high risk-high reward situation. He either pans out and becomes the next quarterback for the New York Giants or he fades back into oblivion. Either way, the move nets them Saquon Barkley as their next big time play making running back.
Johnny Manziel will be playing football next season. The only question is where. Will it be in the NFL or the CFL? After all the off season hype, the belief is he will get his shot at redemption. The hope is he takes the “comeback” serious enough to bring us back the days of Johnny Football.