The narrative surrounding the Indianapolis Colts‘ trade for Trent Richardson last season is finally starting to take shape, and in a delightful (if not entirely unexpected) twist, enter Johnny Manziel from stage right. These two men find their careers forever linked in history, with being drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Browns as their only common denominator. When the Colts travel to Cleveland on Dec. 7, we’ll all be trying to figure out who “won” the trade.
Cleveland has hardly been a bastion of hope and success for sports-ball competition across leagues, and the parade of failed quarterbacks is hilarious even by longtime Chicago Cubs season ticket holder standards. But the Browns have been lingering on the competitive edge for a year or two, and their behavior in this draft seems to indicate that they’re well aware of that. They were very active, trading around the first round. The Colts’ first-round pick allowed them that flexibility. If Manziel directly contributes to turning that franchise around, Colts fans will hold this moment in the back of their minds, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I hope the Browns will be competitive. I hope Manziel will add a little spice to the league and become must-see TV. I’ve been arguing that Andrew Luck needs a Tom Brady-esque rival in order to reach his full potential, and if the events in Cleveland on Dec. 7, 2014 lead to a Colts and Browns rivalry, and if Luck versus Manziel becomes the next generation of Manning vs Brady, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Or, if Manziel completely flops and Richardson comes out looking better for it, I wouldn’t complain about that, either.