Jared Stanton – Chief NFL Writer for The Vault Studio
The Johnny Manziel comeback train is starting to gain a head of steam.
Last Sunday ‘Johnny Football’ made his debut at the newly formed Professional Spring League, and NFL executives have been quick to proclaim that his potential still remains “off the charts.”
With rumours now circulating as to who will offer the former Texas A&M star another opportunity, both the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints appear to be the most logical standing spots at this point in time.
Tom Brady will be turning 41 in August, and with Jimmy Garoppolo now spreading his wings with the San Francisco 49ers, finding a potential successor to Number 12’s throne should be of the utmost importance to Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft.
The Patriots do have four picks in the first two rounds of this month’s draft, so they certainly have the ammunition to move up and take whatever quarterback they please, however, this is an ageing roster that has lost a lot of talent this offseason, and hanging on to their early selections would be a much wiser move.
Should they indeed decide to stick with their current picks, Johnny could certainly present an intriguing option for the reigning AFC Champions.
After throwing in front of scouts at Texas A&M’s pro day a few weeks ago, New England was reportedly one of several teams that decided touch base with Manziel.
Of course, this hardly concludes that the Patriots are actually looking to sign him, however, it does mean that he at least impressed them enough for them to take time out of their busy schedule in order to talk to him.
Ultimately, it means that he was able to peak their interest.
As noted, the Patriots desperately need youth in their quarterback depth chart, and Johnny Football would present a cheap option with enormous upside.
He is sober, he is medicated, he is driven, and who better for him to learn under than the greatest coach/quarterback combination that the game has ever seen?
This move makes perfect sense for New England given its low risk/high reward nature, and it makes a lot of sense for Manziel as it offers him a chance to be part of a healthy culture, and it also allows him the ideal opportunity needed in order to grow and develop into a starting calibre player over the next couple of years.
When thinking about how he could potentially fit with the New Orleans Saints, everything that was just said with regards to the Patriots is going to be echoed here.
At some point in time, the Saints are going to have to start thinking about their future at the quarterback position, and taking a chance on Johnny Manziel would make a lot of sense.
Drew Brees is not getting any younger, and with no exciting young signal caller on the current roster, why not roll the dice on a guy who would come extremely cheap, and who could potentially offer the team explosive option in a couple of years’ time?
A positive coach/quarterback connection is arguably one of the most vital dynamics that a team can possess in the NFL, and let us not forget, Johnny Manziel seems to have quite a solid relationship with Sean Payton.
According to reports, Payton and Manziel met for breakfast during Super Bowl week back in February, and Payton had the following to say when asked about their interactions:
“It was my first time having a chance to talk to him… He’s got a skill set that’s unique – good feet and he can create… He’s got some work to do, but he’s got arm talent, I don’t think any of those things are a question right now.”
In a perfect world, Johnny Manziel would come in, refine his skills under a brilliant head coach, and hopefully be ready to take the reins within 24 months if Brees decides to call it a career.
At the end of the day, both the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints are currently without a quarterback in which they can groom into something special whilst they continue to lean on their veteran starters.
They are also two teams that have very publically been in contact with Johnny Manziel in recent weeks, and both present a healthy, winning environment with little-to-no pressure for him to take the field unprepared.
If bringing Manziel on board was to prove itself to be success, then the Saints and Patriots would look like absolute geniuses.
If not, then they could simply cut ties and say “at least we gave it a shot.”