The Johnny Manziel era in Cleveland appears to be over.
With the offseason here and the Browns having undergone a massive shift in the front office and coaching staff, there's going to be big changes this offseason for the once-proud franchise that's fallen mightily since the franchise's rebirth in 1999. To have success in the NFL, you need a franchise quarterback, and Cleveland's answer there won't be Manziel.
According to ESPN's Pat McManamon, the Browns will release Manziel on March 9, the first day the team will be allowed to make such a move when the 2016 league year begins. This comes as no surprise after Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown strongly suggested the team will cut Manziel this offseason in a statement released Tuesday.
"We've been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field," Brown said, via the team's website. "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."
Brown was referring to Manziel's latest alleged domestic violence incident that happened over the weekend. Police were called to investigate an incident involving Manziel in Fort Worth, Texas, early Saturday. Fort Worth police said in a statement Saturday that officers were called to an apartment building around 2 a.m. about a possible assault, and police later confirmed the man referred to in the report was Manziel.
The Browns are allowed to waive Manziel beginning Feb. 8, but they will not have the cap room to cut him until the new league year begins March 9. It's possible another team tries to trade for him before then, but at this point, the most Cleveland would probably get is a conditional draft pick.
Back when the Browns took the former Texas A&M star and Heisman winner 22nd overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, Manziel signed a four-year, $8.2-million contract with them, including a $4,318,980 signing bonus, $7,998,596 guaranteed and an average annual salary of $2,062,149.
For all of that, the Browns will have received in return 147 of 258 passes completed (57%) for 1,675 yards (6.5 7 avg.) with seven touchdowns vs seven interceptions and 22 sacks taken in 14 career games (8 starts) He also rushed 46 times for 259 yards (5.6 avg.) with one score and seven fumbles (3 lost).
Yeah, not exactly franchise quarterback numbers, but then again, the Browns have been a mess since their '99 revival, and few players at any position have found success in Cleveland. Manziel was destined to fail from the beginning, so hopefully both parties are able to find greener pastures once they've separated.
We should also expect former Bengals offensive coordinator and new Browns head coach Hue Jackson to make a strong push for a new quarterback when the Browns are on the clock with the second-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
That pick may very well determine if Hue's tenure in Cleveland is a success.