The recent report that the New Orleans Saints may have interest in signing Johnny Manziel has folks wondering why Manziel would be drawing interest ahead of Colin Kaepernick, another free agent who remains unemployed. On Friday’s “Undisputed,” Skip Bayless explained to Shannon Sharpe that it has more to do with the coach looking at Manziel than any direct comparison between Manziel and Kaepernick, who seemingly is being held back by his national anthem protests last season.
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Don’t compare Colin Kaepernick and Johnny Manziel
Skip: "I cannot put Colin Kaepernick and Johnny Manziel in the same sentence. Colin Kaepernick has no baggage, I’m sorry, it’s just none.
"My definition of baggage … Johnny’s got so much baggage that if he tried to board a flight they’d charge him X dollars extra because he’s way over the limit. Colin Kaepernick is a better starting quarterback than six or eight current starters in this league.
"But Colin is a much better starting quarterback, to me, than he would be a backup quarterback because of his skill set and the way you have to model the offense around him. You’d have to have a starting quarterback that runs the same type offense."
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Johnny Manziel had a lot of supporters before he was drafted
Skip: "Kaepernick is a very known quantity to NFL people. Johnny is still a completely unknown quantity. He is the wildest of wild cards. X-factor. He could be nothing but a bust, he could be a lost cause, but I’m going to remind you once upon a time – before his draft, after his pro day – people were on fire about Johnny Manziel.
"My friend Jon Gruden, at the other network, loved Johnny so much he advocated taking him No. 1 overall at that draft."
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Sean Payton likes proving everyone wrong
Skip: "Who is Sean Payton among NFL coaches? Boy, he’s a maverick, he’s against the grain. He’s a, ‘Hey, NFL, I’ll show you, you’re all wrong about so-and-so.
"He did it with Drew Brees. Remember, Drew Brees was the undersized little quarterback at San Diego with a busted shoulder. Remember, he needed complete shoulder reconstruction, and San Diego said, ‘We’re done, we’re going with Philip Rivers.’ This guy Sean Payton said, ‘Watch this,’ and it turned out pretty well for Sean. He got a top-five quarterback and a Super Bowl champion out of it."
Manziel is trying to prove he's changed
Skip: "So here comes another little undersized quarterback, and here’s Sean Payton, who’s still rolling in New Orleans … I keep thinking he’s going to lose the power struggle and lose his job in New Orleans … and he’s saying, ‘I kinda like this kid, I liked him before the draft, and this kid is telling me he’s remained clean and sober for X days’. …
“Johnny is trying to turn around his off-field life. He’s engaged to another woman, not the woman in question with the domestic violence, obviously, so he’s trying to change everything and he’s trying to convince not only a Sean Payton, but I know Kansas City has interest in Johnny now, but only as a project, not as a Kaepernick. Not as a starter, nothing immediate. Sean Payton wants him to be the backup quarterback, almost the third-type quarterback. Like this is just down the road, this is the next two or three years.
"Does Sean Payton see him becoming the next Drew Brees? Maybe, this a long shot, but this is the kind of guy who might take a shot."
Manziel is still the ultimate risk
Skip: “Johnny fell right into the bottle. I said on TV, right before that draft, that if he has alcohol problems or other problems I am out. And he immediately not only had alcohol problems, he had drug problems. Bad drug problems. And he was a disaster in Cleveland.
"So you can see where Sean Payton is stroking his chin and saying, “Well, if he does turn his life around and you give him to me – because I can teach a quarterback – and you give me two or three years with him as Drew Brees winds down his career … you can see where he would take a flier on Johnny Manziel.
“Again, is Johnny better than Colin Kaepernick? No. Will he ever be better than Colin? That’s probably doubtful at this point.”
Johnny Manziel is no Drew Brees
Shannon: "There are a lot of analysts and former head coaches who say they would take Johnny Manziel, but you notice they would always take the players they don’t have to coach.
"Skip, let me ask you a question: Other than being under 6-foot tall and white, what do Drew Brees and Johnny Manziel have in common? They don’t play the game not even close to one another. … This dude is improvisation. Drew Brees is straight by the book. Yes, he can run a few plays if you get off script, but everything with Drew is 1, 2, 3 … everything is boom, boom, boom, boom. That’s not Johnny."
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It all comes back to Sean Payton
Skip: “OK, but this guy, Sean Payton, is the one guy who will say, ‘Watch this. Watch what I can do with Johnny Manziel.’ "