The news that former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel wants to get back into the NFL isn’t exactly a secret. He has been out of the league since 2015 when he appeared in 10 games for the Cleveland Browns, starting six and amassing a 2-4 record, while completing 58 percent of his passes and tossing seven scores.
Since then he’s been in legal trouble, kind of gotten his life back on track, and even appeared headed for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats before they ultimately ended up not signing him during the off-season.
Yesterday he ramped up the talk of his potential NFL comeback by throwing at a pro day at the University of San Diego, and by all accounts, it well pretty well despite blustery and rainy conditions. Take a look at some of the throws he made:
But, it’s been more than two years since he was last in the NFL and is certain to be game rusty, plus NFL teams are probably a bit nervous about him after his last stint and all the off the field issues.
That leaves only one solution for Johnny Football to get back into game shape, and for him to get valuable reps: That’s right folks, somebody in the Arena Football League should reach out to him and sign him for this season.
It’s a match made in heaven for both parties. As I previously mentioned, it’s a boost for Manziel because it’s a chance to play right away, in a passer friendly league, and he instantly becomes the biggest star in the league. Plus, after they recently passed a new collective bargaining agreement that will pay QBs over $32k a year, it makes sense financially for him to do it, rather than slum it up in the Spring League or whatever other non-NFL or -CFL league there is out there where you aren’t making anything.
His game is suited perfectly for the AFL, he’s a solid passer, and his scrambling ability makes him extra dangerous in a league where designed run plays are few and far between.
And for the Arena Football League, it gets a major shot in the arm with all the hoopla and attention that Manziel would bring to the league. He is someone who brings in casual fans, both on TV and in-person, it’s a win-win for them in both ways. Those eyes might mean more players, fans, and owners thinking this is something they should get into, and might help get the league back on steady ground with only four teams set to take the field this season.
The more I think about this, the more it makes sense in my mind. It’s a perfect marriage, and something the AFL should consider going forward, not just with Manziel. Take players who are huge draws but for one reason or another, couldn’t stay in the NFL but have the ability to play there. Make the AFL a reclamation project where players get a chance to straighten out their lives while proving they still have game.
Make it happen AFL, Johnny Football isn’t going to be available forever.