Johnny Manziel has yet to announce whether he'll enter the 2014 NFL draft and forgo the rest of an illustrious career at Texas A&M. Manziel reportedly did not request a free draft evaluation, per Albert Breer of NFL.com, which simply adds to the mystery surrounding his decision.
Either choice has its benefits and setbacks. Should Manziel enter the draft, he'll likely be the most marketable rookie and stands to make a fortune in endorsement deals alone. On the other hand, he may have a difficult time finding a niche in the pros compared to his superstar status in College Station.
Here are the pros and cons of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner's decision of whether or not to declare for the 2014 NFL draft.
Manziel can cash in on his skill and marketability
It's no secret that Manziel is popular in the world of football. Last offseason, he became a polarizing figure due to the fact that his life was so intensely scrutinized by the media.
With that popularity, Johnny Football is sure to cash in on some huge endorsement opportunities. Tim Tebow made $13 million while in the NFL on his contract alone, and his endorsement deals were projected to be worth roughly $10 million a year had he found consistent success.
So there's no doubt there's money to be had for Manziel, who already comes from a wealthy family of Texas oil tycoons.
If Manziel were to declare, he could immediately start cashing in on those opportunities and start raking in the dough.
The NFL's rookie wage scale means that, should Manziel be drafted, he'll be granted a four-year deal. The last Heisman Trophy winner drafted was Robert Griffin III from Baylor, who will receive $21.1 million guaranteed over his four-year deal.
If a team drafted Manziel in the first round, as some have predicted, his salary will surely be comparable to that of RGIII.
Manziel has stated that he would likely return to A&M should it not look probable that he'll be a first-round pick, according to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com.
I don't know what I would do. It would be a decision I would have to make with my family, and see what was best for me. It would probably mean returning to A&M another year. ... I still have a big choice ahead either way.
He can become an instant success in a state he's familiar with—Texas
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reported on Dec. 19 that the Houston Texans could be a possible destination for the Texas A&M superstar. The Texans are in desperate need of a quarterback, so the reasons for Houston targeting a signal-caller are obvious.
What makes Houston most attractive for Manziel is that it's located in the Lone Star State. College Station is less than 100 miles from Houston, so there's no doubt that the transition would be easier.
It's hard to win over a fanbase in a new city, especially for a lightning rod like Manziel. Getting drafted to a team that has a core group of fans who already adore you will certainly ease that process.
Also, if Manziel doesn't declare this year, he likely won't get a chance to get drafted by Houston or the other Texas NFL team, Dallas, next season. The Cowboys are set with Tony Romo, and the Texans will likely draft a quarterback high in this year's draft. The window of opportunity for Manziel to play his pro ball in Texas is this year.
He'll find success in a league focusing more and more on mobile quarterbacks
Manziel's playing style is in the same mold as Griffin and Colin Kaepernick, who represent the new wave of quarterbacks in the NFL.
Manziel's ability to make plays with his legs and his arm, as well as his reckless abandon on the field, will fit perfectly in a league slowly shifting in that direction.
According to Dan Parr of NFL.com, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman believes that Manziel fits the mold of the new-age quarterback:
I think he's coming into the league at the right time when people are more open-minded about quarterbacks that can really run with the football. They're not as protective of those guys as we've seen around the league from the obvious players over the last couple of years. I think then the main thing is can he throw from within the pocket? Because ultimately if you're athletic and you can run, if you can't throw the ball and beat people with your arm, you're going to have a hard time being successful in the National Football League.
He'll have trouble fitting in at the NFL level
It's one thing to be a celebrity around a college campus. And Johnny Manziel is certainly that.
But to fit in around a group of grizzled NFL veterans who won't put up with Manziel's shenanigans is a whole different story.
Whenever Manziel decides to head to the pros, he'll be a rookie fighting for his place among teammates who have all been there, done that. If Manziel tries to pull some of the stunts he has at Texas A&M, like tweeting that he couldn't wait to leave College Station and shoving an assistant coach, he could face some serious backlash.
NFL fanbases are ruthless to young quarterbacks. Tim Tebow is one of the most disliked athletes (whether you agree or not), while RGIII is being torn to shreds in Washington, D.C., for the Redskins' lackluster play this season. And that's coming off a year where he was one of the best quarterbacks in all of football as a rookie.
If Manziel doesn't end up in Houston and instead ends up in a place like Jacksonville, Oakland or Cleveland, where the fans have been fed up with their team's quarterback situation for years now, he could have a rough time simply finding his niche in a new environment.
He won't finish what he started at Texas A&M
While Manziel was still a Heisman Trophy finalist and had another impressive year, the Aggies as a whole had a disappointing season after making the Cotton Bowl the previous season. Manziel's squad finished just 8-4 overall and fourth in the SEC West.
If Manziel wants to leave College Station on a more positive note, the only choice is to go back for at least one more season.
There's no doubt that Kevin Sumlin and Co. have developed a winning program at Texas A&M. With Manziel, the Aggies would certainly be SEC contenders next season and possibly poised for a run at a national title.
Going back gives Manziel a chance to leave not just as one of college football's most electrifying players, but one of its winningest as well.
He risks becoming a bust and losing his popularity
There's rarely a sure thing when it comes to translating success from college to the NFL.
Is Manziel is the next Russell Wilson or the next JaMarcus Russell? Is he the next RGIII or the next Tebow?
Nobody knows. Prognosticators can hail him as the top pick all they want. Manziel will get a four-year, multimillion-dollar deal whenever he's selected, and that's hard to pass up.
But if he goes pro, he runs the risk of throwing away his reputation as one of the most popular football players in America. If he's a success, then his legacy will reflect that. But if he's a bust, he'll simply join a list featuring the likes of Russell, Ryan Leaf, Vince Young and Todd Marinovich.
Who has anything good to say about any of those guys?
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