Jason Cole of B/R spoke to a Saints source who mentioned that the team has “no interest” in signing former QB Johnny Manziel.
Payton confirmed the meeting to reporters at the owners meeting.
“That is a little different [situation],” Payton said, via ESPN.com. “I wasn’t involved in the draft process in 2012, the year [Manziel] came out. And so I met him and had breakfast at the Super Bowl. I was curious, really, to get to know him some. He’s got a number of things that he’s working to do to make himself available.
“I certainly would say that for us it was just a chance for me to visit with him. And that would be in a much different phase than Malcolm Butler or some of the things we’re discussing as we approach the draft. It was the first time I met him, and look, we spent some time just kind of going through his story.”
Manziel is trying to get his life turned around and make another attempt at an NFL career. Overall, Rapoport mentioned that Manziel has kept a low-profile.
Before that, Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported that Manziel had re-hired his former agent, Erik Burkhardt, and was drawing “real interest” from teams at the Scouting Combine.
Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reported a few months ago that Manziel plans to volunteer for testing under the NFL’s drug policy as part of his attempt to return to the NFL.
Manziel received a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on recreational drug and wound up sitting out the entire 2016 season.
Marvez points out that Manziel is currently considered a “Stage Two” offender, which means he would be subject him to random drug testing if signed by an NFL team.
The idea of him volunteering for testing is that Manziel is trying to show NFL teams that he is committed to turning around his life and salvaging what’s left of his football career.
It’s worth mentioning that Manziel could still be subject to discipline under the NFL’s personal conduct policy for a domestic violence charge against his ex-girlfriend, even though he reached a plea agreement back in December.
Manziel, 24, is a former first-round pick of the Browns back in 2014. He was in the second year of his four-year, $8,247,250 rookie contract when the Browns cut him loose at the start of the 2016 league year.
In 2015, Manziel appeared in nine games and thrown for 1,500 yards while completing 57.8 percent of his passes to go along with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Manziel also ran for 230 yards. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the No. 31 quarterback out of 36 qualifying players that year.
We’ll have more regarding Manziel as the news is available.