Mort & Schefter: Manziel, Hasselbeck, Martin

When Johnny Manziel takes the field for the Browns on Sunday, he won’t just be auditioning for Cleveland – he’ll be showing his stuff to every team who could want a QB in 2016, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of write. One prominent team executive tells the ESPN duo that he’s not optimistic about the impression Manziel can make on the Browns’ front office given the cast around him.

He would almost have to be spectacular and the Browns win games we don’t expect them to win. And even then, to what extent has [Manziel] burned bridges there where no matter what he does, either the present regime or the next regime will still be looking for another guy?” the executive said.

Here’s more from their column:

  • Two GMs say that if 40-year-old Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has the desire to play another season, he will have an opportunity to be one of the more valued free agents on the open market. Hasselbeck obviously isn’t going to get a $100MM deal, but a deal paying him as much as $5MM to serve as a backup for a contender makes sense. One GM even suggested it was short-sighted to look at Hasselbeck as simply a mentor for a team with a young quarterback. He said Hasselbeck also would be ideal for an established quarterback who is going through a coordinator change.
  • Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, and Alabama running back Derrick Henry are this year’s frontrunners for the Heisman trophy and the ESPN duo spoke with NFL personnel people to get their evaluations of their NFL futures. Henry, who will be eligible for the 2016 draft, has drawn comparisons to Eddie George (though perhaps without the same upside) and one exec sees him as a top 20 pick. Watson and McCaffrey both have upside as well, but they will not be eligible until 2017.
  • It would not be surprising to see Mark Ingram‘s deal serve as a model for Doug Martin‘s before free agency this winter, Mort and Schef write. After seeing his fifth-year option declined, Ingram inked a four-year, $16MM deal with the Saints last offseason that included $7.6MM guaranteed. Now in a similar spot, the Bucs have made it known that they want to retain Martin.
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