Browns

Browns make NBA-esque trade to acquire Brock Osweiler and a second-round pick

The Cleveland Browns are making things happen. Nobody’s sure exactly what these things are at this point, but they are happening nonetheless. Adam Schefter reports via Twitter that the Cleveland Browns are acquiring Brock Osweiler and a 2018 second-round pick from the Houston Texans. There’s no word on what the Browns gave up for that “haul,” but Schefter indicates it is a cap-cutting maneuver for the Texans. You might remember the Texans signed Osweiler away from the Broncos last off-season to the tune of four years and $72 million with $37 million guaranteed.

For the Browns, this might be their version of taking Baron Davis from the Clippers. In that case the draft pick was a lottery pick which turned out to be the lottery winner and someone you might have heard of named Kyrie Irving. Presuming Schefter’s report is true, the Browns will have to wait to find out just where the Texans’ second round pick ends up being slotted, and it’s not likely to ever be as valuable as Kyrie Irving is to the Cavaliers, but the comparison remains. I can’t remember a deal like this in the NFL where one team provides financial relief for draft compensation.

The Twitter reaction to the news tells the tale.

There’s a lot of information baked in there, and a lot of it is probably speculation. Well, other than Bomani Jones’ take. That visual is forever burned in my brain of Brock Osweiler standing on a sidewalk waiting to get picked up by the Browns with a second round pick in his pocket. We’ll also have to see if this means the Browns are moving on from RG3 officially.1 It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Browns would just cut Brock Osweiler and RG3 loose with only Cody Kessler on the roster. That’s not a vote of confidence in either Osweiler or RG3 to be long-term solutions for the Browns on my part. It’s just to say you need bodies to play QB, even if they’re protected by a shiny, re-tooled offensive line.

So, what of the $72 million that Osweiler is owed? It doesn’t hurt the Browns too much, to be honest. Osweiler’s guarantees were $37 million. In his first season with the Texans, they paid him a signing bonus ($12 mil,) a roster bonus ($5 mil,) a base salary ($4 mil) for a grand total of $24 million. That means that his contract only technically owes him somewhere in the ballpark of $13 million more. According to Spotrac, his 2017 cap number is $16 million and the Browns would have to put $16 million in dead money on their cap if they cut him, but the penalties are gone after 2017. So if the Browns do keep him for one season, he’ll be expensive either as a backup or a one-year starter. If he doesn’t make it out of camp, it will be an expensive draft pick.

The Browns might officially have some swagger. And I’m not talking about the mascot dog (dawg?) they trot out on the field every Sunday. The Cleveland Browns are aggressively spending Jimmy Haslam’s money to buy draft picks in the future. They take on a bad contract in the style of the NBA or MLB, and maybe shift the landscape of the NFL trade market forever. I don’t think I’m overstating things here. I don’t know how much better the Browns got in 2017 with this maneuver, and I’m not willing to get excited because, well, it’s Brock Osweiler. However, this is the kind of creativity and aggressive use of cap space that you’d expect an innovative organization to execute.

Could that be the new Cleveland Browns? Marc Sessler thinks it could be.

  1. We know that would make Bode really happy. []

  • With all of the pick wheeling and dealing the Browns are doing, wouldn’t surprise me if they single handedly make trading near the NFL trading deadline as exciting as the NBA trading deadline.

  • JM85

    They had a great first day of free agency.

  • Steve

    They cleared cap space to try to make a move to greatly improve a team that already made the playoffs despite Watt missing so much time.

    As Browns fans, if only we could be so livid that we start fretting over moves to make us real life Super Bowl contenders instead of going from four to six wins.

  • Steve

    The Browns are so non-competitive and so far below the cap that taking a $16M hit is meaningless to the franchise seems to confirm how much of a dumpster fire we still are.

  • Steve

    I’m not sure its a hating nerds thing as much as something theyve never really seen before and aren’t quite grasping how important cap space is on both sides. NBA people learned quickly how trades are more about trading contracts than players, NFLers will pick up on it too.

  • Steve

    They have the secret sauce money because they haven’t been spending it. I’m not sure how much credit one should get for buying a round of top shelf when theyve been mooching off you for years.

  • Natedawg86

    HAM for Sam (Darnold)

  • Natedawg86

    Kessler osweiler and who?

  • jpftribe

    Browns finally make a brilliant move and Lombardi calls foul and JLC is pimping more picks for NE. Love it.

  • jpftribe

    Best first day of FA I can remember for the Browns, and last year’s FA was a complete fiasco. Cabot’s a complete dolt, Grossi has gone radio silent, Lombardi is campaigning for the League Office to investigate the trade, and JLC has gone from multiple 1st, to their not gonna trade him to now, maybe, multiple 2nd’s will get it done.

  • Bach Nguyen

    I’m no salary cap expert, but I think cutting him accelerates the cap hit so that we would take it all this year. Keeping him would spread his cap hit so that it would affect us next season, but I’m not sure how much.

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  • jpftribe

    But…QB.

  • BenRM

    The Browns make a smart move. The typical Cleveland fan still cries about something.

    Welcome to Northeast Ohio!

  • tigersbrowns2

    but if we trade him & pay a portion of his salary , the Browns make out okay.

  • BenRM

    This was very smart. It’s nice to see the HBT giving fans a reason to be excited about they’re different way of approaching the sport.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi PAT … Herm Edwards & Bill Polian were just ripping the Browns over the Osweiler trade … everyone else saw the bigger picture. i think this is creative thinking at it’s finest.

  • tigersbrowns2

    i am freakin’ stoked !! … HBT had a great O-line plan (Bitonio , Tretter , Zeitler & Martin) , added a nice piece in Kenny Britt & then shocked the pundits with the Osweiler trade … even if the Browns don’t do anything else in free-agency , they scored a win & did it all on day one .

  • Steve

    Well, for most of the past 19 years, I’ve seen the actual typical Cleveland fan proclaim the Browns moves each offseason to be smart, only for them to fall on their faces again, so, maybe some skepticism is finally due. Welcome to Northeast Ohio, where buying a second round pick in the NFL draft gets more coverage than a baseball team starting it’s defense of the AL.

    Regardless, that wasn’t crying about anything. The Browns we are able to pull off this trade because they were in such a unique position, one we’ve pretty much never seen in NFL history. And it’s not a good one. We aren’t in a position to call anyone else a dumpster fire.

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  • theotherJimBrown

    I believe Baron Davis still played a season for the Cavs and not too bad of one either. Will Brock do the same? Interesting comparison.

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    The Browns are most likely not going to post a winning record in 2017 no matter who we put behind center. Probably won’t contend for even the North crown until 2019 at the earliest. Kessler/ Oswelier and another 3rd round DV QB will be just fine for 2017. Kessler has earned the shot because of the moxie he showed last season.

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