The Browns lured McCown off the open market to give Cleveland a safe if unspectacular option under center, a veteran with the respect of his teammates and the requisite experience to guide an offense.
The Browns continue to support Manziel, but he can't be seen as more than a wild-card at the position just one year after being drafted with the 22nd overall pick.
Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer have spoken honestly about the lack of a top-tier franchise quarterback, using the offseason to build up both lines and fill holes around the most important position in sports.
Teams without a bona fide signal-caller rarely survive the rigors of an NFL season, but this duel is far from over. Manziel has drawn ravereviews inside the building since his return. If he can translate that to the field, Johnny Football has the chance to emerge as more than a shaky footnote by the shores of Lake Erie.