Report: Marcus Mariota, not Johnny Manziel, Browns Future?


Johnny Manziel has started one NFL game for the Cleveland Browns. While it did not go well, understatement I believe, it is the smallest sample size possible. Marcus Mariota on the other hand just won the Heisman Trophy and is expected to be a Top 5, likely Top 2, pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Of course some prisoners of the moment think Mariota is and will be much better than Manziel. That was likely true last season, when Mariota could have entered the draft and likely would have been selected over Manziel. Mariota stayed for another year and the Browns drafted Manziel in the first round.

Yet the rest is not history, far from it. Manziel could light up the Carolina Panthers today while Mariota is likely to be drafted high and forced into a situation before he is ready, much like it seems Manziel has been.

Yet a new “report” is out that the Browns, specifically GM Ray Farmer, is very interested in acquiring Mariota to be the QB for the team. Mary Kay Cabot released the report yesterday:

"With coach Mike Pettine admitting this week that the Browns will have doubts about Johnny Manziel even if he hits “it out of the park” in the final two games and “a ton of doubts” if he doesn’t play well, the Browns will explore all of their options at quarterback, including trading up into the top five to draft Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.Browns general manager Ray Farmer has repeatedly said that he’ll always explore every option at all positions — and Mariota is one glaring and tempting possibility for the Browns this offseason. The Browns have scouted him this season and will continue to do so."

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  • That the Browns have been scouting him this year is new information but we have known, either through back channel sources directly to us at DPD or general rumblings, that Farmer really likes Mariota. One of the reasons the Browns made the trade with the Bills was to give them a shot at acquiring the Oregon Ducks QB in this year’s draft. Both the Bills and Browns had too good of seasons to put their picks in position to draft him.

    That leads to the idea that the Browns could make a RG3 type trade to move up for Mariota. Trading both of their picks in this years draft and a first next year, along with whatever else it might take, would be a huge gamble. Yet the Browns are aware that the NFL is a quarterback driven league. If they don’t believe Manziel is their guy then they should cut bait as soon as possible to move on to who they think it is. If that is Mariota I applaud an aggressive move.

    Even that huge package of picks might not be enough to peal Mariota out of the hands of someone drafting in the Top 2. That leaves the Browns with few options if they don’t believe in Manziel. Farmer was reportedly very interesting in UCLA QB Brett Hundley last year as well. The QB hasn’t shown great development this year and could be available in the 2nd round.

    Mark Sanchez, along with Brian Hoyer, leads a weak crop of veteran free agents, though Mike Pettine did work with the Sanchize when they both were with the New York Jets. Jay Cutler could be on the trading block but he is far from a sure thing.

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    If the Browns indeed want to move on for Johnny Manziel after 3 starts it causes a bunch of concern. How much was owner Jimmy Haslam involved in drafting Manziel? If he wasn’t involved, how trust worthy is Farmer in evaluating QBs if he is getting rid of one he drafted in the first round? How much can he get from Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys for their golden, Texas bred quarterback?

    Mariota is far from a sure thing. At this time last year we all assumed Teddy Bridgewater would be the first overall pick. The year before that it was Geno Smith. Bridgewater fell to late in the 1st while Smith fell into the 2nd round. Could Mariota, or Jameis Winston, fall as well. If it happens for the 3rd straight season the Browns would most likely pounce. Trading a huge pile of assets for Marcus Mariota might be tougher to swallow.

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    What do you think of Mary Kay Cabot’s report about Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota?