Yesterday the Browns issued their official “it’s not you, it’s me” statement in regards to Johnny Football. The breakup is imminent. I know it, you know, the Browns know it, and most importantly, Senor Football knows it. The new braintrust up in Cleveland has pretty much decided that life without Johnny Manziel is the way of the future and it’s tough to blame them. I mean, it’s pretty crystal clear that the guy doesn’t even want to be there in the first place. I’m of the school of thought that this is exactly what Manziel is looking for and that all the off field antics and showing up to practice drunk and all that was a series of calculated moves to get himself cut from the Browns roster so he can resume his career alongside Jerry Jones in Dallas but that’s beside the point. The point I’m trying to make is, is it really that bad of an idea to keep Manziel around for another season?
Obviously the Browns need a quarterback of the future and they’re going to take someone with the second overall pick to fill that void. Probably Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State but maybe not. Either way, this QB class isn’t really laden with guys who can step in right away and win a bunch of NFL games, so why wouldn’t you stick with a guy who’s started at least a handful of games and groom the guy you drafted for a season? I know the Browns still have Josh McCown on their roster but let’s be honest, is Josh McCown really gonna give you a chance to win significantly more games in Cleveland than Johnny Manziel? Doubt it. Also keep in mind that our boy Flash Gordon is eligible for reinstatement and his fifth (maybe sixth? Stopped counting) second chance. In case you can’t see where I’m going with this I’ll just come right out and say it. A Johnny Manziel to Josh Gordon combination has the potential to be maybe the biggest thing in not just the NFL, but in all of sports. People love redemption stories. Especially redemption stories involving one of the most celebrated college football players of all time and maybe the most dynamic receiver in the league. If the Manziel/Gordon thing panned out (and mind you that’s big if) we’d be looking endorsement deal after endorsement deal, kids rocking Manziel and Gordon Jerseys from coast to coast, maybe even some more EAS commercials a la Brady Quinn on top of the big play threat the Browns have been so desperately seeking for the past half decade or so. Is that going to happen? Probably not. In fact, I’d bet a lot of money that it won’t. Johnny will probably show up to practice drunk again and Gordon will probably get pulled over after buying a pack of Swishers, all I’m saying is that the ceiling is a lot higher than the floor in this case. Best case scenario, the Browns land themselves a big time QB/WR combo for the forseebale future and shed a positive light on a franchise that’s been stumbling around in the dark for twenty years. Worst case scenario, Manziel and Gordon wash out and you’re pretty much right back where you started, which is staring down the barrel of another 4 win season.
The key here is Hue Jackson. Jackson turned Andy Dalton from a guy that got booed in a celebrity softball to a legit MVP contender in the matter of a year, so if anyone can get this right, it’s Hue. The biggest obstacle would be Browns management. I don’t even know who’s calling the shots in that front office anymore, but Hue would have to get them to buy into this season as a throw away year. Again, not likely to happen seeing as the pressure to win and win now in Cleveland is so great that any chance of the Browns potentially putting this season on the back-burner to experiment for the future is slim to none. The Browns have shown that they ain’t scared to fire a guy after a season or two, but if Hue sat down with Manziel, Gordon, and the front office and pitched this cockamamie scheme as a last chance effort to create something special in the future, I just really don’t see what the downside would be. Just try it. But, if there’s anything that the Browns have proven to be really, really good at, it’s shooting themselves in the foot and making football decisions that don’t benefit the franchise’s future in any way whatsoever.