Did the Browns just acquire their quarterback or buy themselves a second-round draft pick?
The Browns announced the move in a release: The Cleveland Browns have agreed to a trade with the Houston Texans that will send the Texans’ 2018 second-round pick to the Browns. Cleveland will also acquire Houston’s 2017 sixth-round pick (188th overall) and QB Brock Osweiler for the Browns’ 2017 fourth-round compensatory pick (142nd overall).
“We’re really excited to acquire a second round draft choice in this trade,” said Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown. “Draft picks are extremely important to our approach in building a championship caliber football team. We are intent on adding competition to every position on our roster and look forward to having Brock come in and compete.”
The Browns have 11 selections in the 2017 draft and now hold additional picks in the 2018 draft in the second round (Houston and Philadelphia), fourth round (Carolina) and sixth round (Pittsburgh). They now own eight picks in the first two rounds of the 2017 and 2018 drafts.
Osweiler (6-7, 240) is entering his sixth NFL season out of Arizona State. Originally a second-round pick by Denver in 2012, he has started 21 career games. He has completed 488 of 815 passes for 5,083 yards with 26 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He joined Houston as an unrestricted free agent in 2016 after spending his first four NFL seasons with Denver.
Here is how ESPN's Adam Schefter described the move.
"NFL stunner: Texans trade QB Brock Osweiler AND a 2018 second-round pick to Cleveland for the Browns to take Osweiler’s $16M salary of Houston’s books, per league sources. The move clears out millions in salary-cap space for Houston to intensify efforts to sign former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, per sources. To be exact, Houston saves $16 million in cash and $10 million against their cap this season. The Texans also will get the Browns’ fourth-round pick this year in exchange for their own 6th-round pick. So Cleveland gets Osweiler’s contract, a 2018 second-round pick and a 2017 sixth-round pick, and Houston gets Cleveland’s 2017 fourth-round pick, saves $10 million in salary-cap space and $16 million in cash. Cleveland is not committed to keeping Osweiler and is likely to try to trade him, per sources. If so, it would turn into a basketball-like trade in which NBA teams routinely trade contracts to get them off their books; only it rarely, if ever, happens in the NFL. It’s hard to remember in the salary-cap era another team when a team traded a contract to get it off its books. But Houston was so anxious to rid itself of Osweiler and move on to its next quarterbacking chapter that it is giving Cleveland extra picks to take him and his contract. The Browns headed into this free-agent signing period with over $100 million worth of salary-cap space and would struggle to spend it all. Now they can devote some of it to Osweiler’s contract and acquiring extra draft picks from Houston. But this is one of the most, if not the most, creative trade in NFL history."
Schefter said the Browns have received some inquiries on the availability of Osweiler.
NFL Network is reporting the Browns might not even keep Osweiler, but it was more about acquiring the second-round draft pick. The Browns also picked up an extra fourth-round pick this year for their sixth-round pick this year in the deal. If the Browns release Robert Griffin III, they will not have his $6 million salary next year, thus making the cost of Osweiler in the net of $8-$10 million range. Griffin is due a roster bonus on Saturday of $750,000, if he's still on the roster, but Ian Rapoport says the Browns will release him before that.
Michael Silver of NFL Network said he's not sure any of the quarterbacks currently on the roster are what the Browns are planning on, for even this season.
"None of them is the quarterback of the present or future, in my opinion."
The quarterbacks on the roster currently are Griffin, Osweiler, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan.