Over the last three years Johnny Manziel partied his way out of the NFL and onto the front page of nearly every tabloid media outlet in the country. Just when it looked like Manziel had played his last meaningful snap of football, reports surfaced at the 2017 NFL Combine that the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner has his sights set on reviving his pro football career. What’s even more surprising: Teams are reportedly showing serious interest in the former Cleveland Browns signal caller.
If Manziel does indeed sign with a team this offseason, he will have his work cut out to make a final roster. For starters, he must prove that he has grown up and is fully committed to playing football. Second, Manziel must accept a role as a backup or third-string quarterback. And third, he must demonstrate that he won’t be a media distraction. Here is a look at 10 teams that we believe could be willing to give the former Texas A&M star a second chance at playing in the NFL.
1. Dallas Cowboys
Bottom line: We wouldn’t be surprised if Manziel ends up on the Cowboys’ roster at some point this offseason. The 5-foot-11 quarterback is constantly linked to America’s Team (Jerry Jones can’t seem to stop talking about him). Now that the Cowboys have released Tony Romo, they do have a need for a backup quarterback. Furthermore, Jones, who has a history of giving troubled players a second chance, has been enamored with Manziel since his days at Texas A&M.
2. Buffalo Bills
The Bills recently restructured Tyrod Taylor’s contract and essentially committed themselves to him as their starter for at least the next two years. That said, they do have a need for an experienced backup quarterback with E.J. Manuel expected to sign elsewhere this offseason. Manziel could fill that role, and Buffalo would be a great place for him to keep his nose clean.
3. New Orleans Saints
Make no mistake about it: The Saints are Drew Brees’ team now, and for the foreseeable future. If Manziel landed in New Orleans he would strictly be a backup, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. Not being the center of attention on offense would be a humbling role for the Tyler, Texas native. Additionally, the opportunity to learn from Brees and New Orleans head coach Sean Payton would be invaluable for Manziel.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay makes sense as a potential landing spot for Manziel for multiple reasons. First off, the Buccaneers are in the market for an experienced backup quarterback now that Mike Glennon landed a hefty contract with the Chicago Bears.
Secondly, the Bucs’ best wide receiver, Mike Evans, happens to be a former college teammate and close personal friend of Manziel’s. If nothing else, Evans can personally vouch for Manziel’s reaffirmed commitment to football (if it’s indeed legit) and help him keep his life on the right track. Lastly, it’s not really a secret that the Buccaneers expressed a great deal of interest in Manziel as he came out of college.
5. New York Jets
This one is a bit of a long shot and, in all honesty, not a very realistic scenario. Still, given their disastrous quarterback situation, the Jets are worth mentioning. Our guess is that the Gang Green will go after someone more like Jay Cutler or Colin Kaepernick, and then select a developmental prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft.
6. Kansas City Chiefs
With the Chiefs facing a dire salary cap situation this offseason, we expect them to decline Nick Foles’ 2017 roster option before the new league year officially begins. If they do part ways with Foles, Kansas City will be in the market for a relatively cheap, experienced backup to Alex Smith — and Manziel would fit the bill. On top of that, learning under Kansas City head coach Andy Reid may be the exactly what Manziel needs to save his career.
7. Seattle Seahawks
On paper, the Seahawks look like a great fit for Manziel. They have an established starter (Russell Wilson); no truly experienced backup quarterback (Trevone Boykin has appeared in six games with zero starts and has only 18 career pass attempts); they have a strong veteran locker room; and they have a head coach (Pete Carroll) who is a true player’s coach and a physiological genius. Would Seattle willingly take a risk on Manziel, though? Only time will tell.
8. San Francisco 49ers
The Colin Kaepernick era is officially over in San Francisco, and the 49ers are searching for their next franchise quarterback. Brian Hoyer is currently the only quarterback on their roster. While Manziel isn’t their long-term answer at the position (they’ll like acquire a player during the 2017 NFL Draft), he could provide some much-needed depth. Let’s not forget, new 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is very familiar with Manziel from their time together in Cleveland.
9. New England Patriots
Bill Belichick has a lengthy history of giving talented, but troubled players the opportunity to resurrect their career in New England. And when it comes down to it, Belichick — arguably the greatest coach in NFL history — and his no-nonsense approach may be exactly what the doctor ordered for Manziel. We must point out, however, that the only way Manziel lands with the Patriots is if Jimmy Garoppolo gets traded this offseason.
10. Minnesota Vikings
On the surface, the Vikings look like the best fit for Manziel. With Teddy Bridgewater expected to miss most of the 2017 season, they have a need for an experienced backup to Sam Bradford; their head coach, Mike Zimmer, won’t put up with any inappropriate off-field behavior; and their offensive system would be a great fit for Manziel.
Statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.