Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com speculates upon the future of soon to be former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel:
“The Browns reportedly will cut Manziel on March 9, the first day of the new league year. It’s widely believed that he wants to play for the football team in Dallas; it’s still unknown whether the Cowboys want Manziel.
“Owner Jerry Jones presumably does, but he wanted Manziel in the first round of the 2014 draft and was overruled. If Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett don’t want Manziel, they could block the move.”
First of all it has to be said that Stephen Jones and Garrett can’t “block” the move. No one can block a move that owner and general manager Jerry Jones wants to make. He can only be talked out of it.
I’m sure that the Cowboys actually are tempted. Once Cleveland releases him, its a free look and you could argue that there’s nothing to lose. But even as a guy who costs you nothing, is he really someone you want as a quarterback on your team?
Most people think that the Cowboys may try to “rehabilitate” Manziel. The elder Jones has made it clear that he thinks that the Cowboys are a destination for troubled players and he’s also made it clear, for instance when signing problematic defensive tackle Greg Hardy, that he thinks the organization is pretty good at turning them around.
But there’s an aspect of the Manziel situation that makes it completely different from, for instance, Hardy’s. Whatever else you say about Hardy, he’s always done everything he can to perform on the field. He’s a dedicated warrior. Manziel is not. He’s admitted himself that he didn’t work hard enough his rookie year and he was completely unprepared to play when called upon late in that season.
Admittedly he looked better last season so you might be thinking that he put himself back on track to at least some extent. But he was still a short quarterback who has yet to demonstrate to anyone’s satisfaction that he can throw from the pocket. And then Manziel committed what might be his cardinal sin. He failed to show up for the last game of the season. Yes, he was injured, but he was expected to be there as part of the team. Instead, he went the “me first” route in an apparent effort to get himself released by the team. As far as anyone can tell, Manziel completely checked out for the last week.
There is a fundamental truth in the NFL that Manziel apparently doesn’t grasp. It’s a team game and the one thing you absolutely must do above everything is show that you are on board with that. There are 22 players out there and if they aren’t all working together as one, the team fails, regardless of the level of talent (which in his case is questionable, anyway). In the NFL you can beat up dogs and women, rape, steal and even be implicated in a murder and there’s always a possibility that someone will give you another chance. But if you expose yourself as someone who is not a team player regardless of circumstance, there’s no place for you. And in this case, I think there’s a good possibility that there’s no longer a place for Manziel at any price.