IRVING, Texas -- The speculation was strong most of the offseason.
If Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was available to the Cowboys with the 16th overall pick, Jerry Jones, the general manager, would select him.
The night before the draft, Mike Mayock of NFL Network, while admitting the Cowboys need help on defense, said Jones would pick Manziel in his final mock draft.
Then the day of the draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay said Manziel was the Cowboys top-ranked quarterback and he would go to them at No. 16 in his own final mock draft.
The speculation surrounding Manziel and the Cowboys prompted Jones to call his quarterback days before the draft and secure his status with the team.
“Briefly, when we were talking about the draft a few days ago,” Jones said Friday night after the second day of the draft. “And as a matter of fact, I think there’d been some speculation. I think one of these guys came out with a mock draft or what have you. I just told Tony, ‘Just so you know, it looks like there’s going to be a few things written, some visibility with the media, but there’s really a real unlikely thing that you’d spend any time looking at.’ ’’
Of course, Manziel fell out of the top 10 and the Cowboys bypassed him, despite him being the highest ranked player on their board at the time.
Dallas drafted Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin instead and Manziel was selected by Cleveland at No. 22.
Jones said he has no regrets letting Manziel go and has reaffirmed his commitment to Romo, who signed a six-year $108 million contract extension with $55 million guaranteed two years ago, with his comments to reporters the last two days.
Coach Jason Garrett didn’t seem concerned about the Manziel talk. He didn’t have a chat with Romo about Manziel and noted you have to block out all the noise that surrounds it.
“Everybody’s working,” Garrett said. “Tony’s working just like the other guys are working. That’s really the mindset that we have. We want to be an overachieving group that plays hard, plays together and does all that stuff. There’s a lot of noise that exists in this world. My experience has been when you focus on what you’re supposed to do and do that as well you can do it typically good things happen. And Tony, I know has that mindset and our team does.”