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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri Sep 25 - 12:00 AM | Sun Sep 27 - 10:40 AM

Samsonite Make Your Case: Johnny Football era?

The Patriots have reportedly talked to Johnny Manziel but should the Patriots be interested in signing him?

It's no secret that the Patriots figure to be in the quarterback market throughout the offseason. Whether it's in the draft or through free agency, New England could use a developmental quarterback to groom behind Tom Brady and perhaps represent the future at the position.

Even Robert Kraft admitted as much at the recently-competed owner's meetings, saying "I'm going to put my fan hat on, and obviously at some point we have to" he said regarding drafting a quarterback. "Not just that, but think what happened in the '08 season when in the first quarter against Kansas City, Tom goes out. How many people would have said that Matt Cassel would have led us to an 11-5 season? I put my faith and confidence in Bill [Belichick]. He knows his responsibilities. Anything can happen, even if Tom comes in [and is in] tip-top shape."

So, the question now becomes, where do the Patriots look to find one? The logical spot is the draft, the same place Belichick grabbed Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round back in 2014. Garoppolo was then traded to San Francisco at last season's trade deadline, which brought us to this position in the first place.

But reports this week indicate the Patriots have spent some time watching Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner out of Texas A&M and former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns. Manziel was a disaster in Cleveland and was subsequently out of football a year ago, largely due to a litany of off-field problems.

Nonetheless, the Patriots were present for a pair of workouts involving the quarterback recently and that leads us to this week's Samsonite Make Your Case question. Should the Patriots have interest in signing Johnny Manziel?

PFW's Paul Perillo says ...

YES

The Patriots love to bring in talented players who for various reasons are available for short money. In the past Bill Belichick has acquired several first-round picks who didn't pan out with the original teams, with the idea being that those players obviously had the talent to drafted high, and with little risk financial or otherwise it made sense to take a look.

That's exactly where we are with Johnny Manziel. The former Heisman Trophy winner has the ability to make plays despite his small stature and unorthodox style. His problems are not talent related. I like the idea of Belichick evaluating him to see if his problems are worth overlooking, and then reacting accordingly.

To be clear, part of Manziel's off-field issues involve domestic abuse incidents and I'm not advocating that the Patriots should look past that. I'm talking strictly about his ability and seeming willingness to return to the league at the very bottom. If the Patriots are OK with his character, then I'm all for giving him a second chance to see if he can fulfill his potential and possibly be in line to someday be the successor the Tom Brady's throne.
--PP

PFW's Andy Hart says ...

NO

I've never really been a believer in Johnny Manziel's ability, so even without the red flags his character provides I'm not interested in bringing him in. Manziel is too small to withstand the rigors of an NFL pass rush, and physically he doesn't have the arm strength to succeed from the pocket on a consistent basis.

Manziel is an exciting player and his ability to run around and improvise would be interesting during the preseason, but over the course of a full season there's no doubt that the hits he'd likely absorb outside of the pocket would take a toll. Manziel's questionable past and lack of commitment to the game also leave me less than interested.

The Patriots need to find a quarterback to groom as a replacement to Brady, but Manziel should not be in the mix to do so.
--AH

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