In a Hail Mary heave, the Cleveland Browns bailed out the Houston Texans heading into the 2017 season. The Browns literally paid $16 million and a 4th round pick in 2017 for the Texans 2nd round pick in 2018, a 6th rounder in 2017, and Brock Osweiler’s contract. The deal was shaped as nothing more as a salary dump by the Browns to take on money to land a second round pick, with a handy side effect of saving the Texans any more headaches.
The Texans have now gained $10 million in cap space for 2016 and $16 million in spending cash over the next two seasons by clearing Osweiler’s contract completely off the books in one transaction. The Texans are still on the hook for the dead money in 2017, which is $9 million, with the rest of Osweiler’s remaining deal flipped to the Browns books.
Just like that, the Texans admitted their mistake with Osweiler and moved on with the least amount of damage: a sunk $37 million in Osweiler and a 2018 second round pick. The 2018 second round pick might be mitigated by A.J. Bouye signing with the Jaguars. Bouye’s new 5-year, $67.5 million dollar contract could result in a 3rd round compensatory pick in 2018.
The Texans now move their cap space up to around the $30 million mark with free agency open and the first wave of signing occurring. The first wave usually has the most lucrative deals of the year which means the Texans will assess after the first wave to see how they can address needs with bargain players who still have plenty left in the tank, much like they did the first two seasons of the Bill O’Brien era when they signed the likes of Jerrell Powe, Kendrick Lewis, Vince Wilfork, Quintin Demps, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, each of whom who helped the team more than they hurt.
More importantly, the Texans open up their quarterback depth chart and wait for Tony Romo to be released so they can assess that situation closer and possibly put him under center for the 2017 season. With Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden in house, the Texans will also continue to look toward the NFL Draft to supplement their depth chart at the position and appear to finally be committed to the endeavor.
When the off-season ended, it looked like the Texans were going to be boxed in with the contract of Osweiler, having to find a way to keep him off the field for the upcoming season after the performance he put together in 2016.
If there is anything to take away from this, credit the Texans for admitting the signing of Osweiler did not work out and moving on the best way they could in a hurry. Also, thank the Browns for bailing out the Texans and giving them new life for this season and beyond by taking Osweiler.
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