Report: Jones says Manziel would've guaranteed Cowboys' relevance

In a shocking development, Jerry Jones wanted to draft Johnny Manziel. (USATSI)
In a shocking development, Jerry Jones wanted to draft Johnny Manziel. (USATSI)

Jerry Jones wanted Johnny Manziel. The Cowboys owner and general manager has spoken out of both sides of his mouth on the issue, but  an "Outside the Lines"/ESPN the Magazine profile of Jones by writer Don Van Natta Jr. paints a picture of a man second-guessing his decision to pass on Manziel in the May NFL Draft.

"If we had picked Manziel, he'd guarantee our relevance for 10 years," Jones said in May, according to "When we were on the clock, I said if we pick the other guy -- any other guy -- it would be a ticket to parity, more 8-8 seasons.

"The only way to break out is to gamble -- take a chance with that first pick, if you wanna dramatically improve your team. That's why I wanted Manziel but I was the only guy who wanted him. I listened to everybody ... And I'm ... not ... happy ... ."

Interestingly, hours after the team settled on offensive lineman Zack Martin with the No. 16 pick -- and presumably around the time of Jones' comments above -- the owner said that drafting Manziel "wasn't even a thought," and that drafting Martin "was such an obvious football … decision."

But last month, Jones admitted he was "that close" to taking Johnny Football.

“I want you to know that almost as I was handing in the card, it was that close to putting that Manziel card in. It was that close,” Jones said at the time. “I looked over to my son, Stephen, our chief executive officer, and I said ‘I took the right pick.' ... He was the top player by three players on our board at the time that we were sitting there looking at him.”

Never say never, Jerry. Play your cards right and down the road you could end up with Manziel and Adrian Peterson

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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