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Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel Fans Should Root for Brian Hoyer to Win Starting Job
When the Cleveland Browns traded back up to No. 22 with the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2014 NFL Draft, the entire city of Cleveland held their breath. As the commissioner announced the Browns had selected Johnny Manziel, a party only rivaled by the return of LeBron James began in Cleveland.
In the weeks leading up to the draft, fans debated if the Browns should take him with the No. 4 overall pick in the draft. So landing the Texas A&M star quarterback at No. 22 was a major coup in the eyes of many. However, for those who expect Manziel to start from day one—you may want to reconsider your position.
With talks of general manager Ray Farmer possibly extending last year’s breakout—well, in three games—Brian Hoyer, those same fans who want Manziel to start should be rooting for Hoyer to win the starting job. On top of that, you should all be rooting for Hoyer to get a two or three-year extension in the process as well.
Why, you ask? It is simple, Hoyer picking up where he left off last year makes him a trade asset in the 2015 offseason.
Likely signed to a very friendly contract extension before the season, a solid season from Hoyer could help the Browns cash in off him. The San Francisco 49ers trade of Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs is a good example of what the Browns could expect—which netted the 49ers two second-round picks when it was all said and done.
See, like the Browns, the 49ers had a veteran in Smith looking to prove to everyone he could start in this league. After years of never living up to being selected No. 1 overall, Smith finally broke out in 2011 to the tune of 3,144 yards, 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Meanwhile, the 49ers had a rookie second-round draft pick, Colin Kaepernick, sitting the bench and learning from Smith.
In the 49ers situation, they did not immediately cash in after Smith’s 2011 season. Instead, they decided to keep him in 2012. He would start 10 games before suffering a concussion, then Kaepernick took over and never looked back—propelling the 49ers to deal Smith in the offseason.
Like Kaepernick coming out of college, Manziel’s style has been questioned by a number of people around the league. Thus, sitting behind a guy like Hoyer to start the season would not necessarily be a bad thing unless he absolutely dominates Hoyer in training camp.
It may not please the media or the fans, but the man known as Johnny Football riding the pine to start his career could turn out helping him in the long run. If Hoyer can return to 2013 form and lead the Browns to a winning record, the team could trade him for assets that end up lining up with Manziel on offense—possibly a wide receiver to replace Josh Gordon.
Not starting Manziel will not be popular, but it could end up being the right move that pays off in the end. And after watching Farmer wheel and deal in the 2014 NFL Draft, you better believe acquiring additional assets is firmly on his mind heading into the 2014 season.
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