In a sharply worded statement, new director of football operations Sashi Brown said Manziel's "continual involvement in incidents that run counter to (the team's) expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization."
Point made. The Browns will release or trade Manziel in March, after March 9.
It is as close to a no-brainer move as a team can have.
The team's new brain trust of coach Hue Jackson and front-office operatives Brown, Paul DePodesta and Andrew Berry deserve a fresh start. In this case, it means as fresh as possible. Wipe the slate clean and start over.
There is nothing good about saddling a new coach with an old problem. And that's exactly what the Browns would have been doing if they kept Manziel. It's better for the Browns and Jackson that the second-year player be released.
It's also better for Manziel. His constant appearances on social media and in the news have turned the fan base solidly against him. The atmosphere in Cleveland had grown toxic, with all but his fervent admirers giving up their support.
There is no need to try to figure the "why" regarding why things went the way they did. Manziel needs to come to grips with what he wants from himself and from football, and approach his job appropriately.
A fresh start with a new team, perhaps as a humbled backup, might lead him in a better direction.
This move does provide the Browns an opportunity for soul-searching. They can discuss their expectations and the level of accountability they demand. With their future actions, they have a chance to make a statement about their team, its players and its role in the community and on the field.
The team came up short with Manziel, often and consistently.
A new regime will have a chance to establish a new era with real standards -- and real consequence, if those standards are not met.
Every player on the team deserves that, as does every fan who pays for a ticket.
The draft-night excitement about the selection of Manziel seems as if it were decades ago. He now will go down as one of the bigger disappointments in Browns history.