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Jones: Passing On High-Rated Manziel Avoids “Explosion”
IRVING, Texas – Jerry Jones’ loyalty to Tony Romo held up enough for the owner/general manager to pass on the highest-rated and most highly-touted player still available to the Cowboys at pick 16.
Jones said Manziel “was probably the highest player on the board” available to the Cowboys in the first round. But despite the admiration for Manziel, there was too much invested in Romo to go that route.
“I said last night, it was all about Tony Romo,” Jones said. “I was just looking at it today and thought, ‘You put that with the Dallas Cowboys and you put that with the quarterback controversy over Romo, and you’ve got an explosion.’ Manziel said it better, it’s just bigger than you could take.”
Football outweighed the marketing impact of bringing the sensational Texas A&M quarterback to Dallas. Jones believes Manziel is the type of player that can have an immediate impact on a team and doesn’t have to sit and wait to develop, but it won’t be in Dallas.
The owner said it’s a stretch to say he was tempted at pick 16, but Manziel’s the type of game-changing player that can cause an organization to alter its plans.
“He’s the kind of guy that will change your plans and change your direction, in my mind,” Jones said. “He is that good and can make that kind of difference. I’m anxious to see how and what he does in the NFL. This is a different situation than a developing quarterback, in my mind.”
Jones said he believes Manziel will be an outstanding NFL quarterback, and, interestingly, compared him to a quicker, more instinctive Jeff Garcia. He added that it’s difficult to compare Manziel’s instincts to any quarterback in the NFL.
His reason for not taking the intriguing prospect is his belief in Romo.
“(Manziel)’s got a chance to knock it out of the park, and we all know that, but with what Romo’s got, his knowledge of the game, and his experience, then frankly, Romo’s arm is quicker and stronger,” Jones said. “So with all of that, he’s not going to beat Romo out. The only thing this thing does is all of a sudden Romo has a shorter career than we might have anticipated, and then you’re sitting here for several years.”
Jones said he believes there’s too many years left for Romo and too much down time for Manziel if he went to the Cowboys. He said Manziel’s situation in Cleveland gives him a much better chance to play quickly.
Many mock drafts started placing Manziel in Dallas in the days leading into the actual draft, though it seemed hard to believe at the time that the quarterback could fall that far. During that time, Jones said he spoke briefly to Romo, telling his franchise quarterback it’s unlikely that the Cowboys would go that route.
Jones said there’s been coexistence before with quarterbacks in the waiting, noting Steve Young and Joe Montana’s situation. But with Zack Martin available, he didn’t want to go with Manziel.
He also said the extracurricular activity that would go along with a pick of “Johnny Football” had to be considered, along with the inevitable talk of a potential quarterback controversy.
“I just think that it needs to be put in the equation as what you’re going to be dealing with, what you’re going to be living with,” Jones said. “The one sure thing was that if he were a Cowboy this morning, it was going to absolutely be not only everything and what he is in the NFL and what have you, but there was no question it was going to be Romo and him, in some form or fashion in every conversation with that. There’s no way it couldn’t have been that.
“At the end of the day, where we are is that there’s no way we’re not going to be without Romo for the next four, five, six – whatever you want to say – years. It was too significant for him to be an insurance policy…It’s not the usual development guy behind an accomplished quarterback. He’s a celebrity. He’s Elvis Presley.”