NFL notebook: Browns cut loose Manziel after 2 seasons

| Friday, March 11, 2016, 6:57 p.m.

Johnny Football has been tossed aside.

Quarterback Johnny Manziel, the scrambling, Heisman Trophy-winning college star who hasn't come close to matching his hype in the NFL, was waived Friday by the Browns following two turbulent and troubling seasons.

Manziel's unceremonious exit — the team sent out a brief statement with a few stats and no comment — ends a drama-filled stay in Cleveland for the 23-year-old, who faces an uncertain future on and off the field. For the first time since he started throwing a football as a kid while growing up in Texas, Manziel isn't a wanted player and he's contending with possible criminal charges for a recent domestic incident in which his ex-girlfriend claimed he struck and threatened to kill her.

The Browns drafted Manziel in the first round in 2014, hoping he could not only be their long-term solution at quarterback but revive a sluggish franchise.

Instead, he was a two-year headache that wouldn't go away.

On Feb. 25, Dallas police referred their domestic violence case against him to a grand jury, which will exam evidence against Manziel. His ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, accused Manziel of striking her in the head during a night out on Jan. 30. Crowley told police Manziel hit her so hard, she temporarily lost hearing in one ear.

Manziel is also being investigated by the NFL, which could suspend him for his off-field behavior. He was cleared by the league in October following a similar incident with Crowley.

Broncos acquire QB Sanchez from Eagles

Mark Sanchez is getting a change of scenery and a new job description: replacing Peyton Manning.

Instead of being buried deep on Philadelphia's depth chart, the veteran quarterback has a chance to lead Denver's defense of its Super Bowl title.

The Broncos acquired the seven-year veteran from the Eagles, a move Denver general manager John Elway calls the first step toward replacing 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.

“He brings veteran leadership & will compete,” Elway tweeted. “This is the 1st step in our process.”

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 filling in for Nick Foles and later Sam Bradford.

RGIIII visits Jets

Free agent quarterback Robert Griffin III was visiting with the Jets, two people familiar with the situation told the Associated Press.

Griffin was cut by the Redskins on Monday, ending a tumultuous tenure in which the No. 2 overall draft pick immediately became an NFL star in 2012 before his career spiraled to the point where he spent all last season on the sideline because of injuries and inconsistency.

One of the people told the AP that the Jets' focus remained on re-signing Ryan Fitzpatrick, who set a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes last season, and the move to give Griffin a look is simply the team doing its due diligence.

Griffin, 26, could come cheaply considering his stunning decline in Washington.

Bucs sign CB Grimes

Four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes and former Giants defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. agreed to contracts with the 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.

Ex-Giant, Ram dies

Gary Jeter, a defensive lineman who played for the Giants and Rams during a 13-year NFL career, has died. He was 61.

Jeter was drafted out of Southern California in 1977 by the Giants with the fifth overall selection. He played six seasons for them, then another six for the Rams and one in New England.

Around the league

A person with direct knowledge of the decision told the AP that Bills receiver Chris Hogan signed a three-year, $12 million contract offer extended to him by the Patriots. … The Redskins signed former Chargers defensive end Kendall Reyes, their first free agent addition of the offseason. … The Falcons agreed to terms on a one-year deal with linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who played in 14 games with Arizona in 2015. He was Atlanta's first-round draft pick in 2010.

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