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Sean Payton, Saints have interest in Johnny Manziel

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Could the Johnny Manziel comeback tour now have an ounce of credibility?

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday the wayward quarterback and former Browns first-round pick was spotted with Saints head coach Sean Payton at breakfast during last month's Super Bowl, per sources informed of the meeting. The two discussed a return to the NFL.

Rapoport added that Payton is interested in Manziel possibly joining the Saints sometime in the future. This was not simply the Saints head coach taking an interest in Manziel as he tries to climb back into the league after washing out amid substance abuse and legal issues.

Manziel is still subject to suspension for a violation of the league's personal-conduct policy. He spent the better part of a calendar year appearing in various photos and videos documenting his freewheeling -- and sometimes troubling -- lifestyle.

Manziel, however, claims to have made a concerted effort to turn his life around, recently telling a Dallas judge that, "Everything has been going extremely smoothly and my life is trending upward." Manziel also has re-hired agent Erik Burkhardt to help him craft a comeback.

The situation seems quite fluid and will likely be followed up with some platitudes from New Orleans. Teams looking to bring in a controversial player such as Manziel ordinarily couch such explorations as customary due diligence. Whether or not this graduates beyond a meeting remains to be seen.

What we do know is that the Saints should and will be in the market for a Drew Brees successor at some point. Brees is set to become a free agent again at the end of this season but has said multiple times that he plans on playing a few more years. This is good news for Payton, who has won games on the shoulders of Brees' supreme talent for nearly a decade now. Deep into his 30s, the former second-round pick still is throwing for more than 5,000 yards per season. Should the team's defensive rebuild take hold, the Saints could be bound for a return to the playoffs.

Life after Brees is not so simple. Perhaps that is why Payton is at least kicking the tires on a high-upside talent, even if there is a tremendous amount of baggage. Interest in Manziel seems surprising, especially while other high-upside quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick are still available with far fewer issues under their belt.

The draw is Manziel's off-the-cuff playmaking ability which former Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said could sometimes negate the best laid plans by a coaching staff.

In two NFL seasons, Manziel started a total of eight games, completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,675 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.

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