Just as important, however, Saturday’s announcement that Gordon was arrested made life even worse for the Browns’ No. 22 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. None other than Johnny Manziel.
The Browns are a hapless franchise. They have been one of the worst teams in the NFL over the past decade. They finished 4-12 in 2013 and haven’t finished with any more than five victories in a single season since 2007.
Time and time again, the Browns have swung and missed on personnel decisions. Whether that’s through head coaching hires or draft selections, the Browns have been arguably the worst in the NFL over the past few years. The last three Cleveland head coaches haven’t made it past their second year. The last three Cleveland quarterbacks drafted in the first round — Tim Couch (1999), Brady Quinn (2007) and Brandon Weeden (2012) — have been as bad as bad gets.
The Browns were entering 2014 as one of those teams that were destined to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. But the two bright spots of yet another miserable season for the Browns were supposed to be Manziel and Gordon. Now we can wipe one of those two completely out of the equation.
Gordon has faced many off-the-field issues in just two years in the NFL. He was suspended for two games in 2013 for serving a drug-related suspension. Before his DWI arrest, Gordon was awaiting decision upon his appeal for violating the league’s drug policy. Gordon was facing a ban of at least one year due to the violation.
Gordon isn’t just the best player on the Browns’ roster at the moment —he’s one of the best receivers in the game. Despite missing two games, the then second-year receiver led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards. He became the only player in NFL history to record back-to-back 200-yard receiving games.
There is little doubt that the third-year receiver possesses immense talent and game-breaker ability. Which is the reason why a rookie quarterback such as Manziel needed a player like Gordon in 2014.
Brian Hoyer may be the favorite to start at quarterback at the moment, but after the Browns start out the season directionless (yet again) and the fans lose confidence in Hoyer as the team’s short-term starting quarterback, Manziel will receive the nod at QB.
There’s no other way to spin it — Manziel enters the worst situation of any rookie QB in the NFL. Forget about the chatter about Manziel being the second-shortest QB in the NFL at 6-foot. The rookie QB just indefinitely lost his only true threat at the wide receiver position.
To make matters worse, the Browns finished as the third-worst team in the NFL in sacks allowed (49) and was the worst in QB hits allowed (121) in 2013.
Outside of tight end Jordan Cameron, Manziel will have no one to throw to — he’ll have to split passes amongst two ancient receivers in Nate Burleson and Miles Austin, an underwhelming receiver in Travis Benjamin and a 5-foot-7 receiver in Andrew Hawkins.
Johnny Football will be scrambling for his life in Cleveland. And although the Browns will be showing him the money, it will shock no one if Manziel ends up just the way his three predecessors at quarterback in Cleveland finished — on their backs and out of Cleveland within a few years.