A league source told NFL Nation reporter pat McManamon the Browns will release Manziel in March after the team put out a statement from director of football operations Sashi Brown.
“We’ve been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field,” the statement said. “Johnny’s continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization. His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules. We will have no further comment at this time.”
Because of Jerry Jones’ public infatuation that started before the 2014 draft -- and has continued since -- the Cowboys are naturally the team most connected to Manziel.
Last offseason the Cowboys were linked to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, but there were never any serious talks about bringing Peterson to his hometown of Texas, even though the Cowboys had a need for a running back after DeMarco Murray left via free agency.
The Cowboys need quarterback help behind Tony Romo, and they could start the succession plan with a younger quarterback.
Jones has been careful with his words regarding players still under contract with other teams, for fear of tampering.
“You wouldn’t take any time to have any evaluation in that area at all,” Jones said last week at the Senior Bowl.
The Cowboys could find a backup and quarterback of the future just as easily in the draft. They coached Carson Wentz, one of the top three quarterbacks in the draft class, in the Senior Bowl, so they will know him best. Would they take him with the fourth overall pick?
There are many mountains to climb before anybody can know that. As of now, there is no complete draft board. The evaluation process is in its infancy, and taking anything that is said and written as a concrete fact is naïve. What might be true today could be completely false in a few months.
The same could be said about the Cowboys and Manziel, except when the former Heisman Trophy quarterback’s name is brought up in conversations with those at Valley Ranch, heads immediately shake.
Two years ago Jones lost the case to draft Manziel in the first round. The Cowboys took Zack Martin with the 16th pick in the first round and he has become one of the best offensive guards in football. The same people who whistled in the wind when Jones brought up Manziel’s name on draft night remain in the same roles today, from Stephen Jones to Will McClay to Jason Garrett.
Nothing Manziel has done on the field has quelled the fears those around the league had about him when he entered the NFL. In two years he has started eight of the 15 games in which he has appeared. He has completed 57 percent of his passes with seven touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He has a 2-6 record.
Off the field, Manziel has been a headache. Last weekend police were called for an alleged assault in Fort Worth. Police are investigating, as is the NFL.
Playing in Dallas could be the worst destination for Manziel because of the trappings of the area and his celebrity, if not his play on an NFL field.
A backup quarterback has to be reliable. Manziel has not shown that in Cleveland. It’s hard to imagine he would do so with the Cowboys.