Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter
It's no secret that Jerry Jones wants to draft Johnny Manziel.
Don’t believe anything you hear. Not at this time of the year. Not when it comes to the NFL Draft.
Well, except for one voice. Before the NFL Draft each season, 31 NFL front offices are posturing, smoke-screening and undermining their way into their War Rooms.
But not Jerry Jones.
The Dallas Cowboys owner might be the one NFL powerbroker who tells the truth when it comes to his draft intentions. ESPN’s Ed Werder, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman and other NFL scouts have reported that Jones is infatuated with the idea of drafting Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. And most believe that if Manziel makes it to the Cowboys that Jones wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on the in-state gunslinger with the 16th overall pick.
The question is how much is Jones willing to spend to get the Aggies coveted playmaker since most believe Manziel will long be off the board before the Cowboys are on the clock.
Jones and the ‘Boys have the equity to make a move up to acquire Manziel. The outrageous owner has a long track record of trading draft picks and falling in love with shiny new toys (See: Felix Jones). Manziel is simply the latest, and possibly the greatest, object of his affection.
Here is why Jones and the Dallas Cowboys should trade up to acquire Johnny Manziel at all costs.
Tony Romo is 34 years old
The embattled starting quarterback for the Cowboys will never fully be appreciated in Big D. Romo is the NFL’s fifth most efficient quarterback in history with a career passer rating of 95.8 — behind only Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Steve Young and Philip Rivers. Of course, QB rating isn’t the best measuring stick with which to evaluate quarterback play, but his numbers are way better than most Dallas fans will have you think. With a litany of injuries, Romo enters his 11th NFL season with a clock ticking loudly in his ears. Drafting Manziel would give Jones an heir apparent for Romo, would cover his bases should Romo get hurt and gives Manziel time to develop and learn from a true professional, especially in a division that appears to be passing Dallas by.
To make money
Johnny Manziel moves the needle. He moves it at the ticket window. He moves it at the merchandise counter. He moves it in the TV ratings. The bottom line, Manziel will make his franchise boatloads of cash even if he busts out after a few years or gets injured. The Cowboys are already America’s Team and adding Johnny Football to the roster just seems like the right fit. The NFL’s TV partners will flex the normally very average Cowboys into more primetime games in an effort to get more eyes on the dynamic quarterback. No, Jones and his Cowboys don’t need Manziel to be profitable but drafting the biggest star to come out of the state of Texas since Vince Young would essentially allow Jones to print money hand over fist. He will be well worth the investment.
Keep him from Houston
Obviously, it would require Jones to move up to No. 1 — or hope that the Texans pass — but keeping Manziel out of the hands of the Texans could be key. Houston won two division titles and two playoff games before tanking to 2-14 a year ago. For the record, that’s twice as many playoff wins as Dallas has had since 1996. With a flashy new QB guru coach in Bill O’Brien and a beloved local superstar under center, the Texans could make a play to become the biggest football fish in The Lone Star State pond. Keeping the talented playmaker out of the hands of the Texans would be icing on Jones’ Manziel cake.
It’s time to spend on a QB
For all of Jones shortcomings when it comes to making first round picks — and he has many — he hasn’t screwed up at the QB position. There is no long list of first round busts under center like in, say, Cleveland or Miami. In fact, he’s only taken one signal caller with a first round pick during his entire tenure as the owner in Dallas and that was Troy Aikman with the first overall pick in the 1989 draft. The only other time Dallas selected a quarterback with a first round pick was Craig Morton in 1965. After taking a wide receiver, two offensive lineman and a lockdown cover corner in the last four first rounds, it’s time for Jones to complete the puzzle and take the risk on the guy who fits his team, his personality and his pocketbook the best. And that’s Johnny Football.
Jones already maximizes the publicity and revenue generated from the very popular Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad. He’s even sold tickets to the photo shoot before. Imagine the promotional possibilities of a Johnny Manziel beach football game with the Cowboys cheerleaders during their yearly onsite calendar shoot? How about a high-end night of dinner and dancing with cheerleaders and Johnny Football? The marketing opportunities are endless and Jones would be able to charge premium prices to grant access to both his cheerleaders and his prized star quarterback. Aikman has told numerous stories of women breaking into his house and waiting for him in his hot tub while he played for Dallas. Why not charge people to see it?