Reactions are bound to be mixed, but regardless of how people feel—he’s back. Former Texas A&M superstar and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel has signed with the Alliance of American Football. He will be playing for the Memphis Express.
The San Antonio Commanders had the option of picking him up since he played his college football in Texas. They opted to release their rights. As a result, Manziel hit the waiver wire where anyone could have a shot at him starting with the worst team in the league first, the Memphis Express.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) March 17, 2019
Acquiring a player that was immensely popular in the area during his college career would have been a good draw for the Commanders. But Logan Woodside has been playing well, so the Commanders probably saw no reason to pick him up.
Memphis, on the other hand, started the season with Christian Hackenberg at quarterback. When he failed to impress, the team turned to Zach Mettenberger. He had been playing well but went down with an ankle injury on the first play of Saturday’s game against Salt Lake.
Former Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers took over for Mettenberger. He ended up going 23-37 for 242 yards and a touchdown.
“We are pleased to welcome Johnny Manziel to Alliance of American Football, which we’ve always described as a league of opportunity for talented players to launch or revitalize their pro football careers,” said AAF co-founder Bill Polian in a statement.
What will be interesting to see is how quickly Memphis head coach Mike Singletary may try to get Manziel on the field. Manziel would have to beat out Silvers first, assuming Mettenberger is going to miss time (no announcement has been made yet). But Silvers isn’t going to know the offense much better than Manziel.
Welcome to the 901 @JManziel2
— Memphis Express (@aafexpress) March 17, 2019
Yes, Silvers has been with the team from the start, but as the third-string quarterback. Second string guys barely get much time in practice running the team’s offense; third string guys typically run the scout team offense.
It wouldn’t be shocking if the Express were to start with a ‘Manziel package,’ a set of plays they focus on in practice enough for Manziel to be able to run them in a game effectively. Otherwise, Silvers and/or Mettenberger should start (for now).