Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns have officially reached an agreement on the hyped rookie's first contract. It was the last procedural hurdle before the quarterback competition between the Texas A&M product and Brian Hoyer begins in earnest.
The Cleveland Browns announced the awaited news:
Breaking: Browns have agreed to terms with first-round draft pick Johnny Manziel pic.twitter.com/qIaRCAXCIV— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) June 17, 2014
Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal provided Spotrac's breakdown of the deal:
Per @spotrac, Johnny Manziel's deal: 4 yrs., $8.25 mil., including $4,318,000 signing bonus, $6,702,625 guaranteed. Team option for 5th yr.— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) June 17, 2014
Manziel was a projected top-five pick for a time, but along with several other top quarterback prospects, he ended up sliding down the draft board. The Browns eventually decided he was too good to leave out there any longer and traded up to No. 22 to grab him.
Should the Browns start Manziel in Week 1?
It is an ideal situation for "Johnny Football." Not only is there a good chance he will be able to start very early in his rookie season, perhaps even right away in Week 1, but Cleveland has also long been waiting for a big name like him to lead its offense.
He completed nearly 70 percent of his throws during two seasons as the Aggies' starter. He also racked up 63 passing touchdowns and 30 rushing touchdowns over that span. His strong play was enough to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012.
After the draft, Matthew Florjancic of WKYC passed along comments from Manziel, who said Cleveland was a perfect fit:
This is a place I wanted to be. I didn't want to come in and just be mediocre. To have success, you need to come in and you need to do some good things. That's more what I was talking about, than coming in and dominating as a rookie. It wasn't that talk at all. It was coming in, and trying to win some games if I'm going to be here and if I get the opportunity to play.
The reason he stayed on the board until the back end of the opening round is twofold.
On the field, there are concerns about his lack of prototypical size and pocket presence. He's a player who has made a name for himself by making highlight-reel plays, but it's unclear if he's consistent enough to lead a successful NFL offense.
Then there's the off-field attention that generates plenty of headlines. Fox Sports passed along his latest antics, which included a huge stack of money:
Despite those concerns, Joe Namath said, via NFL Around the League, that he would want Manziel on his team:
Joe Namath bullish on Johnny Manziel: "I'd love him on my team, let me just say that." http://t.co/9y3EJxk5N8— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) June 9, 2014
Ultimately, if Manziel has success on the field, the talk about where he hangs out on Saturday nights during the offseason will fade. It's a major talking point right now, however, and it puts more pressure on him to perform at a high level in training camp.
He's more talented than Hoyer, and the Browns would be thrilled if he comes out and legitimately wins the starting spot. If not, the veteran will be in a tough spot with Manziel carrying the clipboard and fans clamoring for him with every bad pass.
Manziel will get his chance eventually, and it will be one of the most anticipated debuts in recent memory. If nothing else, he's an extremely intriguing figure.