Dallas, Kansas City among possible fits for Johnny Manziel

Sam Monson takes a look at Manziel's on-field production in the NFL, along with possible destinations for the young quarterback.

| 10 months ago
(AP Photo/Frank Victores)

(AP Photo/Frank Victores)

Dallas, Kansas City among possible fits for Johnny Manziel


After a series of off-the-field issues in Cleveland, it looks very much as if Johnny Football will be moving on almost soon as the Browns can cut him. The young quarterback’s NFL future is obviously tied to his ability to conform to the professionalism expected of the man who fronts most NFL franchises, but let’s instead take a look at Manziel the football player. Is there something to work with at this level? What has he shown and what kind of scheme would he fit with best?

Manziel played just 79 snaps as a rookie which amounted really to one start against the Bengals in Week 15 (he started the next game too but left hurt after just 16 snaps). This season saw Manziel get far more of an opportunity and at least flash potential. There were more horrendous games in there — bookending the season with particularly ugly passing displays — but there was also the kind of on-the-fly playmaking ability we saw at Texas A&M and hoped to see at the next level.

What Manziel is capable of doing with his legs is his biggest asset right now. The Browns didn’t use him much as a designed runner, but on the three times they did he gained 47 yards, so it should probably be something any new team applies. The league is becoming better at making use of athletic quarterbacks in ways that are less gimmicky and genuinely useful for the offense.

On the 27 times he scrambled during pass plays he gained 189 yards and forced five missed tackles. 78 of those yards came after contact. Manziel is electric with the ball in his hands and proved that his dynamism when things break down still works at the NFL level. Manziel actually earned the highest PFF rating of any quarterback for his work running the ball. His 97.2 was markedly higher than any other player at the position and was the one thing he did consistently well.

As a passer is where Manziel continues to struggle far more. His decision-making is still suspect, and he is far too inefficient at the short to intermediate level of the defense – a quarterback’s bread and butter. His accuracy has been average at best. Though he completed over 65 percent of his passes when kept clean, he was accurate on just 70.6 percent of all attempts — 29th in the NFL.

Manziel does have some things in his favor though. His deep numbers are good, thanks in part to his ability to make very tough deep passes on the move or after a play has broken down, and his general ability to improvise and make plays on the run is impressive. Let’s take a look at a few possible fits for Manziel:

Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Jones and Johnny Manziel seem destined to be together, and there is a touch of Tony Romo in Manziel’s ability to create and improvise. The Cowboys would give Manziel the perfect destination for him, and the ability to sit and learn behind a quarterback that shares some of the same traits. The team has also shown the willingness to babysit troubled star players in the recent past (Dez Bryant).

Kansas City Chiefs

Chase Daniel is a free agent and Alex Smith needs a backup.Smith has become a genuinely effective part of an option-package, which would be a natural fit for Manziel with no pressure to start in the short term.

San Francisco 49ers

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to see Manziel and Chip Kelly together? The 49ers have no quarterback that has a lock on that job, and Manziel does give Kelly the athletic running threat that makes his offense much more effective. Perhaps Kelly could coach him into a viable passer while leaning on his running skills.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • Jake

    What about the Rams?

    • LostAlone

      Silly Jake. The Rams aren’t going to sign anyone exciting.

      • crosseyedlemon

        Now that they are back in Hollywood the half time entertainment might be the most exciting part of their game.

        • LostAlone

          Maybe they’ll get the dog-riding monkey in?

          • crosseyedlemon

            Just pray that they don’t ask Roseanne Barr to sing the national anthem.

  • Roku

    What about BevMo?

  • http://www.redright88.com/ Tom_RedRight88

    What about the CFL?

    • crosseyedlemon

      The CFL proved to be a great fit for Doug Flutie who like Manziel is a one off type QB but the Canadian dollar has lost about 30% of it’s value against the American dollar so that could be a deal breaker.

      • MosesZD

        Better something than nothing. At least for Manziel.

  • McGeorge

    Manziel sounds like a good addition to any team.
    What with his dedication to the sport, studying, and being a team player, he will be a great role model.
    I’m sure a discipline oriented coach like Belichick would welcome this type of player.
    😉

    My impression of being a QB is there is a lot of film study required, and then a lot of practice time with each receiver going through each of the routes. At lease that’s what Brady and Manning (and probably many other QBs) do. If a player isn’t willing to dedicate himself to improving, it seems unlikely they will amount to much, unless they have unbelievable abilities. Through in a discipline problem, at the QB position no less, and you have a locker room cancer.

    • MosesZD

      Good snark!

    • crosseyedlemon

      I’m not a Manziel fan but if we are being honest then we have to acknowledge that having to QB the eternally inept Browns would suck the heart out of almost every passer….Brady and Manning included.

      • McGeorge

        While the Browns may be a poor organization, i think a good QB would raise their performance quite a bit. They just haven’t had a good QB in quite a while. Or is it the case that they have terrible coaching as well, at all positions, year in /year out for the past 10-15 years?

  • unc54

    He has the tools but he doesn’t have the desire to take the next step.

  • Barn Cat

    He is’t worth the chaos he brings to the team. Besides, he was also something like the 42nd ranked passer last year.

  • davewr58

    The only place Manziel should be headed is to rehab … to save his life. He is a threat to himself and others and is in a bad place emotionally. He is a relapsed alcoholic with severe anger management problems. He needs help, not football.

    • bobrulz

      I don’t think it’s up to us to make that judgment…

  • MosesZD

    The only fit for Manziel is the toilet bowl after a long stay in rehab.

  • Tim Truemper

    Cleveland was a bad place for him to be. Needs a mentor coach with QB coaching skills such as Reid. We’ll see but this clinical psychologist does not see the level of pathology that others do. Needs to sit and learn while being a part of a strong and mature locker room.

    • crosseyedlemon

      I think most players coming out of college would rather spend time on death row than get drafted by the Browns.

  • bigtrip

    KC will promote Aaron Murray to the backup job. He could run the option as well as current backup Chase Daniel. I don’t see very many, if any teams that sign a backup based on the offense that the starter runs. You think Derrick Anderson can run the same offense as Cam.

  • Tim Truemper

    I have thought about the CFL for him also but not sure if he would take the reduced money and lower profile. Then again, the word on him from those close to him is he loves to play and may do that as an investment for his future, especially if no NFL team shows much interest. I like the Flutie comparison, too. And to the comment below that most NFL QB’s would rather be on death row than in Cleveland- a humoruous and apt comparison.