"Johnny Manziel"


With five days until the 2014 NFL Draft kicks off at Radio City Music Hall, the smoke may be becoming fire. This afternoon ESPN’s Louis Riddick tweeted “hearing rumblings of a potential draft day trade that could blow the top off of the draft involving the QB position.” A couple of minutes later Riddick tweeted “all talk at this point, but caught me off guard, to say the least.” I hate speculating on league “rumblings” at this point in the process but it’s interesting to look at all the possibilities that have the potential to blow the roof off.

With all this said, let’s take a look at the possible trades with the potential to shape the 2014 NFL Draft and beyond.

1. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

"Colin Kaepernick"

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This one would be off the charts and it’s also the most unrealistic. Before you dismiss the possibility that the Niners would part with one of the top, young QB’s in the league let’s look at a little reasoning:

  • Kaepernick is going to break the bank on an extension, in the $18-20 million range
  • Rumors of a trade involving the Niners has swirled for weeks – presumably to move up the draft for one of the top receivers or corners
  • Jim Harbaugh has gushed publicly about Johnny Manziel

Do these factors mean the Niners are going to trade a 26-year old star that has taken his team deep into the Playoffs (Super Bowl appearance) in each of his two seasons at the helm? Not likely. Does it mean we can’t explore the potential. Definitely not.

I imagine the Niners would want to move into Johnny Manziel range. That probably means moving into Houston, Jacksonville, or Cleveland’s spot. The issue of compensation is something hard to wrap your head around. Chicago gave up 2-1st round picks, a 3rd round pick, and Kyle Orton for Jay Cutler before the 2009 NFL Draft. Cutler’s star was fairly bright when he was dealt but not nearly at Kaepernick’s level. I would have to think San Francisco would ask for a king’s ransom for Kap – and they would and should get it. 

Chances of a deal: Less than 1%

2. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

I can’t imagine Chip Kelly and the Eagles would deal Nick Foles after his promising 2013 season but stranger things have happened. That said, it’s only natural to tie Kelly to Johnny Manziel, who appears to be a perfect fit for Kelly’s system and could be the perfect fit for Manziel. So here’s a couple of points of reason on this one:

  • Foles was great last season, so his value may never be higher – if Chip believes Johnny is the “perfect” fit for his system, there’s no better time to sell on Foles
  • Chip waxed poetic on Manziel, saying he broke his heart when he chose Texas A&M over Oregon. Chip has as solid a book on these college prospects as anyone with all his ties to the current CFB landscape

Who could the possible suitors be for a Foles for Manziel deal? I could see Houston or Jacksonville being interested. Again, the problem may come down to compensation. How much is enough for the first pick in this draft or the third pick. The Eagles own the 22nd pick in the draft which is a far way to deal down for team’s that have more than a few needs. For the Eagles, how much is Manziel worth given you are going to have to give up a guy coming off a spectacular season, swap first’s, and potentially a sweetener. 

Chances of a deal: Less than 30%

"Brian Hoyer"

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

3. Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns

If the Browns are sold on Manziel (or one of the other QB’s), why keep Hoyer hostage? Hoyer showed significant promise in his brief starting experience with the Browns, winning two contests before tearing his ACL in the Buffalo game. His road to recovery appears to be ahead of schedule and he could have an intriguing market for his services.

The questions will be are the Browns sold on one of the QB’s and do they believe that QB can make an impact in year one. If they can check both those boxes, I could see them pulling off a draft day trade. So who would be willing to pull off a deal for Hoyer?

The Texans are an obvious choice as Bill O’Brien coached Hoyer in New England and called Hoyer’s agent about his contract when he was hired by Houston. This would free up the Texans to spend their early picks on other areas of need.

Chances of a deal: Less than 30%

4. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are going to have a tough decision to make on Dalton after the 2014 season as he’s set to become a free agent in 2015. I don’t think they’ve seen enough to warrant a big deal as Dalton hasn’t been able to get the Bengals over the Playoff hump. That said, what other team would be willing to pay Dalton if the Bengals aren’t. For that reason, I don’t see this one with any legs.

In looking at the possibilities, it would have to be a team that believes they are an Andy Dalton away from taking the next step. Could the Titans be a possibility? It depends on how much better they think Dalton is than Jake Locker and whether they believe Dalton is a guy that can get them into Wild Card contention. The other side of it is does Cincinnati believe that any of the QB’s in this draft give them a better shot at contention than Dalton in the near future. I can’t see them moving up the board enough to get their hands on Manziel and possibly not Bortles, so that leaves Bridgewater or Carr. There’s a whole lot of questions left unanswered, so I can’t see the Bengals taking that gamble. They are better off keeping Dalton, drafting a QB early to develop for a season and rolling the dice in 2015 on that guy.

Chances of a deal: Less than 5%

Note: Sam Bradford and Tony Romo are guys being speculated about but their contracts are too prohibitive to be involved in a deal. You’d have a hard time finding a team willing or able to take on those contracts.