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Cleveland Browns: Why Roll the Dice on Johnny Manziel when Tim Tebow is Available?

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The Cleveland Browns are looking to make a name for themselves this offseason, that much seems sure.

The Browns' reported infatuation with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel seems to prove that point. Cleveland's front office is so in love with Manziel that it has been reported that the Browns are willing to trade up in the 2014 NFL Draft to acquire him.

All this is interesting, because talent-wise, many folks do not believe that Manziel is the most talented quarterback in the draft. He is almost certainly behind Louisville signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater from a talent standpoint, and Blake Bortles of Central Florida might be more NFL-ready than Manziel, as well.

Knowing this, one has to wonder why the Browns are so high on Manziel. It almost seems that Cleveland's front office is more interested in style over substance, so to speak. It could also be that the notoriety that comes from having Manziel on the roster would help the Browns form the identity that they have lacked in recent years.

If that's the case, then maybe the Browns should go a different route in acquiring the player that will give this franchise an identity, because there is certainly one free agent that could do that -- Tim Tebow.

While Manziel presumably counts down the days to his likely top-five selection in the draft, Tebow is busy doing everything he can to prove that he still has what it takes to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Tebow would give the Browns an identity for sure, and let's face it, the risk that the Browns would be taking in signing him is far less than the risk associated with Manziel.

Acquiring Tebow would be far more cost-effective for the Browns, as they could sign him to a non-guaranteed contract. Manziel, on the other hand, would likely be guaranteed to make $20-plus million before ever playing a single down in the NFL.

Either player would bring a lot of national attention to the Browns, of that there is little doubt. Manziel or Tebow jerseys would both sell at a high rate, but in my opinion the Browns might be smarter to take their chances with a player that is older, wiser, and quite frankly might just want it more at this point.

Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for over 25 years.

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