Browns, Headlines

Browns trade Cody Kessler, continuing the QB room makeover

Joshua Gunter, cleveland.com

The Cleveland Browns announced on Wednesday that they agreed to trade quarterback Cody Kessler to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 2019 conditional seventh-round pick. The Browns have now traded two quarterbacks from last season’s quarterback depth chart after the team traded DeShone Kizer earlier in the offseason. With the addition of Tyrod Taylor, Drew Stanton and a rookie quarterback expected to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Kessler was looking like the odd man out. This trade confirmed it.

Cody Kessler was selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Browns. It was a surprising pick at the time, given the high pick used on the quarterback who was not highly thought of in that draft. In his rookie season, he played in nine games, starting in eight of those games. He completed 65.6% of his passes for 1,380 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. It was a tough rookie season, but his performance made him what looked to be the expected starter in 2017.

But, the 2017 season was a disaster for Kessler. Coming into training camp, he was expected to be the starter for the Browns with a young DeShone Kizer and just a bad quarterback in Brock Osweiler joining Kessler in the quarterback room. However, Kessler put together a horrible training camp where he did not show anything to earn the starting quarterback spot. He was passed over by Kizer as the opening game starter. He received some time in the 2017 season, but showed that he was completely lost as a quarterback. In three games, he completed 47.8% of his passes for 126 yards and an interception.

With the change in the front office, Kessler’s time with the Browns was winding down. Kessler was a reach by former Executive Vice President of football operations Sashi Brown. I was intrigued by Kessler as a prospect, but he was widely seen across the draft universe as a big reach at that point of the draft. And it is now ruled as a bust for the Browns. He showed nice signs his rookie season, but just completely floundered last season, showing a decline and no real improvement in any area of his game. Hopefully, for Kessler, he gets a new life in football as the backup to Blake Bortles in Jacksonville.