Johnny Manziel has been out of professional football for more than two years. A series of off-field incidents including but not limited to alleged domestic violence committed against his former girlfriend and reportedly rampant abuse of alcohol and drugs have kept Manziel away from the game, but he's recently been attempting to work his way back into the NFL.
The most recent step in that attempt was throwing passes in front of league scouts at the University of San Diego's pro day.
Johnny Manziel will have about 35 throws to wide receivers and tight ends here at University of San Diego pro day. He's been training with QB guru George Whitefield down here in San Diego. https://t.co/TjK7KMop8k pic.twitter.com/GsY4th1Idg— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) March 22, 2018
Johnny Manziel threw today at the University of Sam Diego.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 22, 2018
12 teams in attendance.
Strong day say those in attendance. pic.twitter.com/A8NAtSO5In
According to ESPN's Eric Williams, 13 teams showed up to the pro day and saw Manziel in action. (It should be noted that it's entirely possible those 13 teams were merely there scouting players from USD and just happened to see Manziel, as opposed to being there to see Manziel specifically.)
Scouts from 13 NFL teams confirmed by the school were on hand to watch Johnny Manziel throw at the University of San Diego's pro day: Bears, Browns, Chargers, Giants, Chiefs, Jets, Patriots, Raiders, Titans, Lions, Jaguars, Panthers and Bucs. https://t.co/Le43snoSdf— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) March 22, 2018
Let's check in on the present and future quarterback situations of those 13 teams:
- Bears: Drafted Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 last year.
- Browns: Traded for Tyrod Taylor; likely to draft a quarterback No. 1 next month.
- Chargers: Philip Rivers under contract through 2019, but can save $16M by cutting him after 2018.
- Giants: Eli Manning is back; drafted Davis Webb last year; own No. 2 overall pick next month.
- Chiefs: Traded up to draft Patrick Mahomes at No. 10 last year; traded Alex Smith this offseason.
- Jets: Signed Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater; traded up to No. 3, presumably for a quarterback.
- Patriots: Still employ arguably the best quarterback of all time; traded Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo last season.
- Raiders: Recently signed Derek Carr to a five-year, $125 million contract.
- Titans: Marcus Mariota is headed into the final year of his rookie deal, team will presumably pick up his fifth-year option.
- Lions: Recently signed Matthew Stafford to the largest QB contract in NFL history.
- Jaguars: Recently signed Blake Bortles to a contract extension.
- Panthers: Cam Newton under contract long-term.
- Buccaneers: Jameis Winston is headed into the final year of his rookie deal, team will presumably pick up his fifth-year option.
So, there's probably not a ton of opportunity there for Johnny Football. There are only a few teams on that list with unsettled "quarterback of the future" situations, and three of those teams seem likely to draft quarterbacks. Maybe the Patriots or Chargers give him a shot; but if there's any player that fits the Patriots' philosophy less than Manziel does, I've yet to see him, and the Chargers have shown little to make us believe they're getting ready to move on from Rivers anytime soon.
Given how teams feel about "distractions" at backup quarterback, it's hard to see anyone giving Manziel that role, but stranger things have happened in the past. He was a first-round pick only a few years ago, and if he impresses in spring league games a few weeks from now, it's theoretically possible that someone could invite him to camp this summer.