The Cleveland Browns are due for a quiet day someday.
That said, the team that drafts Johnny Manziel is essentially turning up the volume to a Spinal Tap-ian 11 and ripping off the knob. But was Manziel even the true apple of the Browns' brass' eye all along? No one seems to really know.
Consider the elements of this story, which we'll line up for you in whatever order:
The Browns reportedly spent $100,000 on an analytic study of all of this year's draftable quarterbacks, and it came back with Teddy Brigewater's, and not Manziel's, name at the top. The Browns traded up to draft Manziel with the 22nd pick in the draft.
Fox's Jay Glazer reported two days prior to the draft that Manziel would not be the pick of the Browns. ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi also reported that he would be "the most shocked person in the world" if Manziel was their choice. Both men are incredibly dialed in — Glazer on the national scene, and Grossi with the Browns — on their respective beats.
There are reports that owner Jimmy Haslam was the one who made the Manziel call, essentially trumping GM Ray Farmer and/or everyone else in the Browns' war room on the pick. The team has flatly denied these reports.
Now ... is it possible that the Browns are just exceptionally good poker players and that they sent out all of these red herrings and diversionary tactics to not reveal their true intentions? Absolutely — it's the pie-in-the-sky aim of most teams to keep people guessing about their plans, even if past Browns front offices have been way more gum-flappy in a truth serum kind of way.
Grossi wrote that the Browns had Bridgewater's name written down and then changed their mind at the last second. Again, that theory was completed shot down by Haslam and Mike Pettine.
#Browns owner Jimmy Haslam dispelled report Teddy Bridgewater on card before Johnny . "that's crazy, that's nuts."— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) May 12, 2014
#Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters there that report Bridgewater was written on card before changed to Manziel is "beyond laughable"— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) May 12, 2014
We might never found out what actually happened on the clock, or what the team's feelings were for Bridgewater, but the end result — Manziel to Cleveland — is all that matters there.
As for Bridgwater, he says he's happy landing 10 picks later with the Minnesota Vikings — and that he told his agent that Cleveland was a place he wanted little part of,
“I actually told my agent that that’s not the place where I wanted to be,” Bridgewater said on the Dan Patrick Show. “Throughout this entire process, I felt comfortable with the Minnesota Vikings. From every visit I had with the team, it was a family environment, the players are great guys, a great group of guys, so I felt comfortable wanting to play here.”
So maybe both quarterbacks ended up in the right places after all. Manziel perhaps prefers to thrive amid chaos, and if so he found the right landing spot.
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