Nothing is eminent, and the Broncos and Jets also are discussing a deal for the San Francisco quarterback. But this Browns-49ers trade brings up an enticing possibility that the Browns could somehow include Johnny Manziel, perhaps sending him to the 49ers for Kaepernick, with some combination of draft picks included.
NFL Nation writers Paul Gutierrez of San Francisco and Pat McManamon discuss what this possible trade would mean to both teams.
What would Manziel mean in San Francisco?
McManamon: It's tough to believe that the 49ers would actually take Manziel, given the Dallas investigation into an assault allegation of his former girlfriend and given his many social-media appearances since the season ended. Somewhere, Bill Walsh is knocking on Paul Brown's door to ask, 'What the heck?' Then there's the matter of Manziel being a constant distraction and headache for the Browns the past two years. The only reason this possible deal makes sense is that Chip Kelly might actually believe he can save Manziel. Kelly recruited Manziel at Oregon. He has always liked him. And Manziel might be suited to run Kelly's offense (emphasis on might). Still, there are a mountain of obstacles to clear before that could even happen -- starting with Manziel's legal issues and going through his personal issues and to an NFL investigation into what happened in Fort Worth, Texas, the night of Jan. 29 with his ex-girlfriend, and finally to his lifestyle. No team should take him thinking it would be anything but a difficult transition.
Gutierrez: Exactly, Pat, which is why it’s hard to fathom the Niners bringing in the headache that is Johnny Football and, to quote “Urban Cowboy,” all that entails. They have enough issues as is. Unless, of course, Manziel simply needs a change of scenery and he’s ready to blossom and became a game breaker and game changer and … wait, what? I know, the temptation is to say that Kelly can “fix” Manziel and his unique skill set and get him on a righteous football path, but isn’t that what everyone said about Kelly and Kaepernick? Besides, a Johnny Football for #7tormsComing might break the Internet, and 49ers GM Trent Baalke likes Blaine Gabbert. A lot. By the end of this conversation, I might need to take a trip to Las Vegas with Johnny Football to get my head straight.
What would Kaepernick mean in Cleveland?
Gutierrez: Now we’re talking. I mentioned this last week and was called every name in the Twitterverse. I thought the Niners should approach Browns head coach Hue Jackson and the Browns and read them his quotes from a few years ago, when he said he loved Kaepernick coming out of Nevada. As head coach of the Raiders, he wanted to trade up and draft him (truth is, Al Davis wanted to select Miami offensive tackle Orlando Franklin with the Raiders’ top pick but after Denver got him, they instead drafted Stephen Wisniewski at No. 48 overall). As such, the Niners should say, 'Hey, Hue, I know we didn’t hire you in January, no hard feelings, but let’s make things right. Since you like Kap so much, we’ll give you Kap and our No. 7 overall pick for your No. 2 overall pick. No need for Johnny Football. Thanks, though.' That way, the Niners can draft Jared Goff and the Browns get Jackson’s fav QB AND the No. 7 pick. At least, that’s where the conversation could start, right? RIGHT?!?
McManamon: Don't yell at me, Paul. I was originally set to say what a silly idea this was, adding Kaepernick and his hefty contract ($11.9 million fully guaranteed on April 1) and going against the team's stated goal to build through the draft and not bring in players on bloated deals. Kaepernick is someone else's draft pick and does not make sense with the Browns' newest stated ambitions. But I must say, your proposal of the second pick to the 49ers for the seventh pick and Kaepernick is intriguing. It would give the Browns picks 7 and 32 in the draft, it would not cost them a draft pick and it would bring in an experienced quarterback to go with a young quarterback they could draft. That has its positives. Except that Kaepernick is coming off surgery on his shoulder, thumb and knee, and his production has decreased every year. As you have pointed out, Paul, since the start of the 2015 season, Kaepernick has had half as many surgeries as touchdown passes. The Browns are in rebuild mode. They don't need someone else's cast-off. Paul, the Browns would be wiser if they drafted Goff themselves and brought him along with their young and rebuilt team.