The NFL Draft won’t start until May 8, but the Browns have already been linked to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel countless times through various national reports.
The general narrative is something along these lines: Although the Browns don’t have a head coach yet, the front office is infatuated with Manziel and plans to target him with the fourth overall pick.
But what if one of the teams selecting ahead of the Browns — the Houston Texans (No. 1 overall pick), St. Louis Rams (No. 2) or Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 3) — wants Manziel? Or what if another team makes a trade to leapfrog the Browns because it’s targeting Manziel?
Well, if the Browns think Manziel won’t be available at No. 4, they would obviously need to trade up if they really do want him and the rumblings are more than just smoke screens.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Sunday, citing unnamed sources, that the Browns “are willing to trade up to land Johnny Manziel in the draft if need be.”
Browns CEO Joe Banner is known to wheel and deal, and the team certainly has ammunition if it wants to maneuver. The Browns have 10 draft picks, including seven in the first four rounds. In addition to the fourth overall selection, they have another first-round choice, No. 26 overall, which they netted by trading running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in September.
Earlier this month, Texans owner Bob McNair made it known he’s open to trading the No. 1 overall pick.
“Maybe we’ll trade down and still get a quarterback that can do the job and get an outstanding defensive player,” McNair said, according to ESPN.com. “It’s an exciting time. Everything’s a moving target. Lot of different pieces.”
The Miami Dolphins knew wide receiver Davone Bess had been hospitalized without his consent in March 2013 so he could be evaluated and treated for emotional or psychological issues that seemed to be troubling him, but the Dolphins did not provide that information to the Browns before they traded Bess to Cleveland a month later, the Miami Herald reported Sunday. That doesn’t mean the Browns shouldn’t have found out through their own research, but it does call into question the ethics of the Dolphins, who severed ties with General Manager Jeff Ireland on Jan. 7.
According to an incident report from the Broward Sheriff’s Office that the Herald obtained Friday within two hours of a standard records request, deputies were called to Bess’ Cooper City, Fla., home and found him in a violent, incoherent state while screaming, “Hide the guns,” “Where is my weed,” and “I want to get in the end zone; throw me the football.” Six officers pinned Bess down, and he was hospitalized for observation at his family’s request, according to the report.
Without knowledge of the incident, the Browns traded fourth- and fifth-round draft picks to the Dolphins in exchange for Bess and fourth- and seventh-round selections. Then they signed him to a three-year, $11.5 million contract extension through 2016, which includes $5.75 million guaranteed. He’s scheduled to make $3.067 million in 2014.
In recent days, Bess’ strange behavior has become alarming.
On Thursday morning, a photograph of what appeared to be marijuana was posted on Bess’ Twitter account. On Friday morning, he was arrested at an airport in Florida and charged with assaulting an officer, according to a police report that described him as irrational and likely on drugs. On Saturday morning, a photo showing him standing naked in front of a mirror was posted on his Twitter account. At about the same time, the Coral Springs police were called to a hotel because of “an incident” involving Bess, the Herald reported. No arrest was made and there was no information about drugs being involved, but police said Bess received medical assistance, according to the report.
The Browns will likely cut Bess, but they won’t be able to do so until Feb. 3.
La Canfora reported Sunday that numerous sources believe Browns assistant general manager Ray Farmer is a finalist for the Dolphins’ GM job. Farmer joined the Browns last year.
By Nate Ulrich - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)
©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
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