Is the Cleveland Browns QB of the future on the roster? The answer may be yes.


Dec 21, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) on the sidelines in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam famously uttered the words “get me my quarterback” at the end of the 2014 season out of frustration after watching the play at the position during the season.

If you talk to any NFL expert they will tell you that you need your franchise quarterback in order to get over the proverbial hump and build a consistent winner. They’ll continue to tell you how the quarterback is the most important position on the football field. The importance of a quarterback can never be questioned, as it’s been the focal-point position of the NFL for years when talking about the great teams and the sub-par teams.

As the 2015 NFL Draft approached, the Browns were slated as the team most likely to trade-up for a quarterback, only to not draft one at any point during the three-day affair. Shocking to the rest of the NFL, but not to a Browns front office that’s confident in their plan to build this team from the ground up. As general manager Ray Farmer stated before the draft, these team will be like “slow, fresh-brewed coffee.

But what if I told you that the quarterback of the future may be on the current Browns roster?

OK, stop laughing. Because I’m dead serious.

So now it’s on Johnny Manziel to embrace his second chance, prove all the haters wrong, and become the quarterback the Browns have coveted since Bernie Kosar was released in 1993.

Sure, the Browns sought out and landed the services of Josh McCown and Thaddeus Lewis in the off-season to add depth to the existing roster of quarterbacks. Couple that with Connor Shaw, and you have the combination of a veteran, a journeyman and an unproven second-year quarterback. But then you throw in the unknown, the wild card.

Enter John Paul Football, aka Johnny Manziel.

Before the draft rumors swirled that the Browns were not counting on Manziel for the 2015 campaign, and even that the Browns were “moving on” from the troubled quarterback. Manziel, fresh out of his few months in rehab and eager to prove all the doubters wrong, may just be the quarterback the Browns need to move forward as a franchise.

“But Giovanni, he looked awful in his seven quarters of work last season,” you may say. True, but Manziel was dealing with demons we still aren’t fully aware of.

Manziel rode into town as the charismatic, Heisman-winning quarterback from Texas A&M in 2014 vowing to “wreck this league,” only to not take his career seriously and eventually falling flat on his face and landing in rehab. Manziel tried to balance celebrity, nightlife and being an NFL quarterback during the 2014 season. He partied before games, showed up late to the facility consistently and, overall, didn’t take his job seriously. It showed in a 30-0 loss in December at home against the Cincinnati Bengals, and left everyone to question if Manziel even had a future in this league anymore.

The season ended Manziel manned up and checked into rehab, admitting that he had a problem and needed help to get passed it. Seemingly, the first step in resurrecting his quickly fading NFL career, Manziel embarked on a journey to get his head straight and his life in order so he could take the next step on the field. Once out of rehab, Manziel left the night-life of downtown and moved out of The 9 and into the west-side suburbs. Rumor has it he’s living in a golf-course community in Avon, amongst other teammates. This bodes as another step in the right direction for Manziel, who’s feverishly trying to regain the trust of his teammates, front-office and owner.

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During mini-camp at the end of April, teammates raved about Manziel and how he “is growing up before our eyes,” according to Karlos Dansby. Joe Thomas has seen it. Joe Haden has seen it. And it seems as if the front office sees it as well. Manziel is growing up, and quickly. The biggest sign of support from the franchise is the fact that they didn’t draft another young quarterback in last weekend’s draft. Instead, they stood pat with what they had, and it seems that they are going to see what they have in their current hand of quarterbacks.

Does it seem similar to last year? To a degree I think it does. Last year Brian Hoyer entered camp as the starter, this year it is McCown. Last year, head coach Mike Pettine stated Manziel would have a chance to compete, this year they said the same thing. It feels as if they are going to give Manziel every opportunity to try to win the job in camp and why not. The Browns owe it to themselves to do their due diligence and get the position right, so giving up on a guy after seven quarters doesn’t seem like they’re doing their due diligence.

So now it’s on Manziel to embrace his second chance, prove all the haters wrong, and become the quarterback the Browns have coveted since Bernie Kosar was released in 1993. If he can defy the odds and become great, then Farmer and the franchise look like geniuses for not giving up on the troubled quarterback.

It’s all on you now Johnny, no more free passes and no more excuses. It’s time to play ball.

Do you think Johnny Manziel has what it takes to be the starting QB?

Next: 2015 NFL Draft: How the AFC North Graded Out