Johnny Manziel’s tightest spiral with the Cleveland Browns was a downward one.
Less than two years after arriving armed with a Heisman Trophy, full of swagger and touted as a savior for this football-frenzied city’s sagging franchise, Manziel was shown the door – a rude exit for the overhyped quarterback.
Manziel, who did as much partying as playing during two drama-filled seasons with the Browns, was waived Friday.
Welcomed as a hero, he leaves as one of the biggest busts in team – and perhaps – NFL history.
The Browns had hoped to recoup something for the former Texas A&M star, but after failing to find a team interested in trading for him the past two days, the team finally cut ties. Cleveland announced its move with a simple sentence: “The Cleveland Browns have waived Johnny Manziel.” The Browns included his pedestrian statistics but not any comment.
Actions, not words. That was the same mantra they asked of Manziel, who always promised to change his behavior but never did.
The Browns drafted Manziel in the first round in 2014, hoping he could solve their long-term issue at quarterback and turn around a team that has only been to the playoffs once since 1999 and never to the Super Bowl.
Instead, Johnny Football was a two-year headache that wouldn’t go away.
“I’d like to thank the Browns for the opportunity they gave me – nearly two years ago, we all hoped that we were building what could be a championship team for Cleveland,” Manziel said in a statement released by his publicist. “I will always remember the support I received from the organization, my teammates and especially the fans.”
Broncos acquire QB Mark Sanchez
The Denver Broncos have acquired Mark Sanchez from Philadelphia, a move Denver general manager John Elway calls the first step toward replacing the retired Peyton Manning.
The Super Bowl champions were left without an experienced quarterback this week when five-time MVP Manning retired and Brock Osweiler signed with Houston as a free agent. So they have turned to Sanchez, who was acquired for a conditional 2017 draft pick.
Sanchez, 29, spent his first five NFL seasons with the Jets, helping them to the AFC championship game in his first two years. But the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft lost his job in New York and spent the last two seasons with the Eagles, starting 10 games and going 4-6.
Colts grab backup quarterback
The Indianapolis Colts got their backup quarterback by signing Scott Tolzien.
Indianapolis needed a backup after deciding not to re-sign 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck, who has retired, and releasing Ryan Lindley in February and Josh Freeman earlier this month.
Now, Tolzien, who backed up two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers for the past three seasons, will work with Andrew Luck in Indy.
The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Wisconsin alum got his most extensive NFL action when Rodgers was injured in 2013. Tolzien went 55 of 90 for 717 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions. He started his career in training camp with San Diego in 2011 and earned a roster spot with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012.
Redskins ink d-lineman Reyes
The Washington Redskins signed defensive end Kendall Reyes, their first foray into the free agent market this offseason.
Reyes, 26, hasn’t missed a game over his four-year NFL career with the San Diego Chargers, who picked him in the second round of the 2012 draft. Reyes has 126 tackles, 13 1/2 sacks and an interception.
Last season the 6-foot-4, 300-pound UConn product had 32 tackles and two sacks.
Reyes is the Redskins’ first new addition. They re-signed tight end Logan Paulsen on Friday to a one-year deal.
Earlier in the week, the Redskins re-signed quarterback Colt McCoy, defensive lineman Kedric Golston, safety Duke Ihenacho and linebacker Mason Foster. Washington put the franchise tag on starting quarterback Kirk Cousins to retain him for 2016.
Weatherspoon returns to Falcons
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is returning to the Atlanta Falcons after spending his first four seasons with the team.
The Falcons have agreed to terms with Weatherspoon, who played in 14 games with Arizona in 2015. He was Atlanta’s first-round draft pick in 2010. Terms were not immediately available.
Weatherspoon was recovering from a foot injury when he ruptured his Achilles tendon and missed the 2014 season. He played a full 16 games in only one season, 2011, when he had 80 tackles and a career-high four sacks.
Weatherspoon was the 19th overall pick from Missouri in 2010. He started 41 games in his first four seasons and had 288 tackles with eight sacks and two interceptions. He had 11 tackles as a backup with the Cardinals last season.
Hogan signs Pats’ offer sheet
The Buffalo Bills are in jeopardy of losing Chris Hogan to AFC East rival Patriots after the receiver signed New England’s three-year, $12 million offer sheet Friday.
Hogan is a restricted free agent whose rights were retained by the Bills on Monday, when they tendered him an NFL-minimum $1.67 million contract. The Bills now have five days to match the Patriots’ offer, which will be difficult for Buffalo to manage because the team has little room left under the salary cap.
A person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press the deal is structured so that Hogan’s contract will count $5.5 million against the payroll this season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the terms were not announced publicly.
The Bills were projected to have just under $5 million of space left under the cap after re-signing starting left guard Richie Incognito on Tuesday and after starting left tackle Cordy Glenn signed his franchise offer last week.
Hogan completed his third season in Buffalo and finished fourth on the team with 36 catches for 450 yards and two touchdowns. At 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, Hogan has speed to play on the outside, and has been fearless in making catches over the middle. He also has special teams experience.
Hogan’s departure would further deplete the Bills’ depth at receiver behind starters Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods.
The Patriots have a need at the position after their Tom Brady-led passing attack last season was hampered by injuries to several wide receivers and lacked a dependable threat behind tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Patriots, Cowboys among teams awarded picks
New England, Dallas and San Francisco each will get four compensatory picks in April’s NFL draft.
A team losing more or better free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The Patriots lost cornerback Darrelle Revis, for example, and Dallas lost running back DeMarco Murray.
Compensatory picks, distributed at the end of the third through sixth rounds, may not be traded this year. A rule change will allow them to be dealt beginning in 2017.
Four teams will have such selections in the third round: Detroit (95th overall), New England (96th), Seattle (97th) and Denver (98th).
In all, 33 compensatory picks have been awarded. Teams getting them are Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver and Seattle, three each; Buffalo, Detroit and Green Bay, two each; Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Diego, one each.
Buccaneers sign two free agents
Four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes and former New York Giants defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. have agreed to contracts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.
Grimes agreed to a two-year, $13.5 million deal, while Ayers landed a three-year, $21 million contract.
The Bucs announced the deals Friday, addressing a need to bolster a defense that allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 70 percent of their passes and throw for 31 touchdowns last season.
Grimes spent the past three seasons with the Dolphins. In nine NFL seasons, he has 26 interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Ayers had a career-best 9 1-2 sacks with the Giants in 2015.
Earlier this week, the Bucs re-signed All-Pro running back Doug Martin and added former Seattle Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy in free agency.
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