Dallas Cowboys

Troy Aikman Believes Robert Griffin III or Johnny Manziel Will Be Cowboys Backup

Former NFL player Troy Aikman arrives at the 4th annual NFL Honors at the Phoenix Convention Center Symphony Hall on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2015. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for NFL/AP Images)
Jordan Strauss/Associated Press
Joe PantornoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2016

The Dallas Cowboys are still licking their wounds from a 4-12 2015 season that saw starting quarterback Tony Romo sidelined for 12 games because of collarbone injuries. One of the team's all-time best quarterbacks, Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, thinks he knows who the Cowboys might rely on to back up Romo in case he goes down in 2016. 

Aikman spoke with Sports Illustrated Now on Tuesday.   

"I believe, as I sit here today, either Johnny Manziel or Robert Griffin III will be in Dallas as the backup," Aikman said (via the Dallas Morning News).

Both quarterbacks aren't free agents as of yet. But rumors that Manziel's and Griffin's respective teams will release them have swirled around throughout the offseason.   

In 2015, the Cowboys started Matt Cassel, Kellen Moore and Brandon Weeden in Romo's place. They combined for a 1-11 record with 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. 

Manziel and Griffin III didn't have much better seasons, though. Manziel made more headlines off of the field than on with the Cleveland Browns. He appeared in 10 games, starting six of them, posting a 2-4 record. 

Griffin, on the other hand, didn't even see the field with the Washington Redskins in 2015. A preseason concussion forced him to the sidelines, which left the door open for Kirk Cousins, who was awarded the starting job by head coach Jay Gruden.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has expressed his admiration of the two players in the past, though. 

Jones told 105.3 The Fan's Shan and RJ show in December (via the Dallas Morning News' Jon Machotathat Manziel was one of the team's top targets during the 2014 NFL draft. 

Back in 2014, he gushed about Griffin on NFL Network's NFL AM (Conor Orr of NFL.com). 

Well, I'm a fan of RGIII. Right on this field two years ago, or maybe it was three seasons ago, he put on a show and had a game that just floored me. And they won, and they won in large part because of his play at quarterback. I thought 'my goodness, and we're going to have to be playing this guy for years and years.' And so he's got it. Once you see a player do it, especially if you see him do it two or three times, you know he can do it. And of course he's a driven young man. I'm a big admirer of RGIII.

These two do have plenty of baggage they could potentially bring to Dallas. However, whichever quarterback the Cowboys acquire will have time to acclimate to a new team behind a quarterback in Romo who, when healthy, is still capable of being a solid leader.

Both Griffin and Manziel were thrust into situations that called them to be the saviors of their franchises. While Manziel struggled in the spotlight, Griffin's success was derailed by injury. A fresh start could salvage the career of one of these two quarterbacks, and Dallas could be that perfect setting.

 

Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.

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