IRVING, Texas -- Johnny Manziel was the highest-rated player on the team's draft board when the Dallas Cowboys went on the clock with the 16th overall pick, team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Friday.
But there's only room at Valley Ranch for one celebrity quarterback.
Tony Romo is entrenched as the Cowboys' starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, as long as his body cooperates.
As highly as some in the Cowboys' front office think of Manziel, Jones said the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner would have been stuck as a backup if Dallas drafted him.
But Romo-Manziel would have been perhaps the most high-profile, polarizing quarterback controversy in NFL history. That media circus may have been too much even for Jones, a marketing genius.
"It was too significant for him to be an insurance policy," Jones said Friday night, a day after the Cleveland Browns selected Manziel with the 22nd pick after the Cowboys passed on him. "There's just too much dynamic here for him, for the franchise, for everybody. That's just too much for insurance, and it's not the usual development guy behind an accomplished quarterback. He's a celebrity. He's Elvis Presley."
As Manziel said himself, speculating on the scene if the Cowboys would have drafted him, "I don't know if the world could have handled that, honestly."
Jones said he firmly believes Manziel will have a successful NFL career and didn't hesitate to predict he will be outstanding for the Browns.
"He's got a chance to knock it out of the park, and we all know that," Jones said.
But Jones reiterated Manziel wouldn't have that chance in Dallas due to the Cowboys' commitment to Romo, who signed a six-year, $108 million extension last offseason.
The Cowboys remain confident Romo is capable of leading them to a Super Bowl.
Jones called Manziel "the kind of guy who will change your plans and change your direction in my mind," but he added that he spent significantly less than an hour during the entire draft process pondering whether it'd be worth selecting the former Texas A&M quarterback if he was still available at No. 16.
Jones cited the media "explosion" that would have occurred with Manziel and Romo on the same roster as a small factor in his decision to pass on Manziel, opting to select Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin instead.
"The one sure thing was that if he were a Cowboy this morning, it was going to absolutely be not only everything and what he is in the NFL and what have you, but there was no question it was going to be Romo and him in some form or fashion in every conversation," Jones said. "There was no way it couldn't have been that.
"Of course, as far as their ability to practice, come to meetings, be team players and what have you, I really know Romo too well, and look at his situation, and that would have worked. That was something to think about but not necessarily to worry about.
"At the end of the day, where we are is that there's no way we're not going to be without Romo for the next four, five, six, whatever you want to say years."