Here’s one to write down and monitor.
The Browns reportedly want Johnny Manziel. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Browns want Manziel badly enough that they would trade up for him, if they have to.
Here’s the specific language of the report: “[T]hey are willing to trade up to land Johnny Manziel in the draft if need be, sources said.” Read literally, it means that the Browns will do whatever they have to do to move up and get Manziel, if that’s what it takes to get him.
While limits surely will apply to the willingness of the Browns, who tried unsuccessfully (and possibly half-heartedly) two years ago to move up and get Robert Griffin III under different management, this report won’t help the Browns get the best possible deal, if it’s true. And if it’s true, it’s more proof that the next coach of the Browns won’t be able to pick his own quarterback — which could scare away any candidates that aren’t already convinced as to the merits of Manziel.
The Browns currently draft fourth. The first three picks belong to Houston, St. Louis (via Washington), and Jacksonville, respectively.
It’s also possible that “sources” are saying things they don’t believe. It could be that the Browns covet another quarterback, and that they hope Manziel gets picked before Cleveland chooses. Of course, if the report flows from a decision by the front office that Manziel isn’t the answer, the front office necessarily will have tied the hands of a head coach who decides that he wants Manziel.
Regardless, the strength of the report is intriguing. Whether it’s true or it’s a smokescreen, it may not be a good luck for a Browns organization that currently is trying to make its job look more enticing. If the front office is making firm decisions about the draft before even hiring a head coach, that could be a warning sign for a candidate who may be more inclined to wait a year or two for another opportunity.