There are dress rehearsals and there is the Cleveland Browns’ Week 3 preseason game which apparently decided not just the team’s starting quarterback, but the gainful employment of others. With rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer getting the starting nod for Week 1 of the regular season, the team has decided to not only demote Brock Osweiler, but outright cut him before next Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
First reported by The Athletic’s Zac Jackson, Osweiler was simply the latest player to go from starter to unemployed as the team cut Joe Haden earlier in the week over similar financial variables. The team had attempted to trade Osweiler throughout the preseason, but could not find a suitor for his $16 million contract. While Haden’s release resulted in countless thank yous from fans, Osweiler’s will go down as one of the more polarizing additions to the team due to the circumstances as well as those that resulted in his being outright cut from the roster.
There is one line of thinking that says the Browns are hoping to get out from the $16 million they are eating in the deal to acquire Houston’s 2018 second-round pick. If Osweiler is signed by another team, the Browns will owe him the net amount based on his 2017 salary. Those who believe this have a right to be frustrated as the team knew what they were acquiring when the trade was consummated. If this $16 million led them to also have to release Haden (saving the team $7 million) and not re-sign Terrelle Pryor (while now being rumored to be looking at adding a wide receiver), then it’s an inexcusable mismanagement of the team’s salary cap situation.
There is another line of thinking that says the team wants to keep third-string quarterback Kevin Hogan (21-of-32 passes for 269 yards, three touchdowns and a 123.0 quarterback rating against the Bears on Thursday night) and that this — the release of Osweiler — was the plan all along, barring a trade. The $16 million paid, ostensibly to Osweiler, was actually to procure that pick, one of the team’s 13 picks in total, five of which are in the first two rounds.
The Browns also released defensive lineman Xavier Cooper, kicker Cody Parkey, and offensive lineman John Greco in their second wave of cuts. The team has until 4 p.m. to get