IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys will have a need for a backup quarterback in 2016. The Cleveland Browns are expected to move on from Johnny Manziel. The Washington Redskins are expected to move on from Robert Griffin III.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has long been a fan of Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from Texas A&M, and lobbied hard for him for the team's first-round pick in 2014. After Griffin threw four touchdown passes against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving in 2012, Jones was never so awed by a performance.
Speaking on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, Jones was asked if he would be open to taking a young quarterback that may come with risk.
"Well, let's just put it like this: We all would be aware that to bet on our [Kellen] Moore for our backup quarterback has elements of risk to it, but I'm not so sure that that's any riskier than anything you would do with a decision in the future," Jones said. "On the other hand, what would enhance me taking risk is a bigger upside. And if that upside is there, that old risk-reward situation, then, yeah. This is as far as we're going to go here now with this because I don't want to get involved in any type of tampering situation. We'd take some risks."
Cowboys backups Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Moore went 1-11 as Tony Romo's replacement in 2015 as the Cowboys finished the season 4-12. On numerous occasions during the season Jones said his biggest lament was how he handled the backup quarterback spot entering the season.
Manziel would be the biggest risk of them all. His off-field behavior has led to the belief the Browns are ready to walk away from their former first-round pick. His on-field success has not been great either. But Jones has compared Manziel's skill set to Romo's because of the improvisation involved.
The Cowboys had Manziel as their sixth-rated player on the draft board in 2014 but they opted to take guard Zack Martin, who has made the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons and is generally considered one of the best at his position in the NFL.
Even if the Cowboys add a quarterback like a Manziel or Griffin, they could still use the fourth pick on the draft as a potential successor to Romo, who turns 36 in April.
Jones was more succinct when asked on The Fan if the Cowboys would be open to taking a quarterback in the first round, simply saying, "Yes."
The Cowboys have drafted five quarterbacks since Jones has been owner: Troy Aikman, No. 1 overall in 1989, Steve Walsh in the first round of the supplemental draft in 1989, Bill Musgrave in the fourth round in 1991, Quincy Carter in the second round in 2001 and Stephen McGee in the fourth round in 2009.