Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that sources close to both players indicated they’d be interested in the job: "That each is aiming for the Cowboys is not a sudden revelation. Sources close to each player have maintained since the beginning of last offseason that if either was cut loose from his franchise, there was a belief that [Cowboys owner Jerry] Jones would be interested."
That appears to be the case.
Privy to blockbuster adds over the years, no matter how polarizing a player—a la Terrell Owens and Greg Hardy—Jones has established a tolerance threshold to bring in someone with a party-boy reputation like Manziel or the injury-prone RG3.
When Jones was asked about young backup quarterbacks available this offseason who come with "some risk” while speaking to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas (via CBS DFW)—a label Manziel and RG3 each fulfill—he didn’t shun the prospect of bringing someone like that in:
To bet on [Kellen] Moore for our backup quarterback has elements of risk to it. But I’m not so sure that is any riskier than anything you would do with a decision in the future. On the other hand, what would enhance me taking risk would be a bigger upside. If that upside is there, the old risk vs reward situation—then yeah.
Jones added that addressing the backup QB position is "the best ‘now’ move we could make.”
Rarely is a backup quarterback a team’s top priority, but Tony Romo's absence exposed the Cowboys for their lack of depth at the position behind him this year. They went 1-11 in games not started by the Pro Bowler.
But since tearing his ACL in the Redskins’ playoff loss that year, he has never regained full form.
Despite regaining his health enough to play, RG3 has since been ousted in favor of Kirk Cousins, who led Washington to the division crown this year on the heels of four straight wins, during which he threw for 1,160 yards, 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions while completing 74.1 percent of his passes.
Cousins is an impending free agent, yet all signs indicate he’s part of Washington’s long-term plans, per Josina Anderson of ESPN:
On #Redskins QB Kirk Cousins, a source told me today, "he's very important to our organization. We want him here. He's not going anywhere."— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) December 30, 2015
How much money Cousins could command as a free agent could increase further with a lengthy playoff run. RG3, however, is due to earn $16.2 million next season, per Spotrac, a figure the Redskins simply can’t afford for a backup.
Something will have to give, and all signs indicate a salary dump of the former Heisman Trophy winner.
Manziel has been on Jones’ radar since the 2014 NFL draft, when the owner heavily considered taking Manziel with the 16th overall pick.
In fact, if Jones had it his way—he clashed with his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones, over the selection—Manziel would already be a Cowboy.
Perhaps his aspirations could finally come to fruition.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported Sunday that Manziel could soon be on his way out of Cleveland after his latest incident of not showing up to a scheduled meeting that day with the team doctor as part of concussion protocol.
Manziel was reportedly in Las Vegas the night prior, and according to Mitch Moss of Las Vegas Sports Network, he was disguised in a blond wig and fake mustache in an attempt to remain incognito given his slew of incidents that cost him his starting job earlier this season.
Romo will be 36 by the start of next season, and the prospect of his fulfilling the remaining four years on his current contract at full strength seems ambitious.
Like it or not, the Cowboys must start thinking about their future past Romo, and bringing in a player with starting experience who’s willing to back up the starter—for now—is a logical and necessary move.