• When Brock Osweiler was traded to the Browns, his chances of staying with the team through training camp were slim. But he made the Browns QB race interesting.
By Albert Breer
September 01, 2017

Here’s what you need to know on Brock Osweiler’s time in Cleveland: The Browns had no plans to keep him when they traded for him. To his credit, he lasted with the team for almost half a year.

Sticking around in Cleveland also has revived his stock, which was radioactive in January. And that makes the experience, as tough as it probably was to get the news that he’d been cut on Friday, a win for embattled quarterback (if the $16 million he’ll collect for 2017 weren’t consolation enough).

On top of that, this is a win for the Browns, too. The creative trade that Cleveland EVP Sashi Brown and Houston GM Rick Smith crafted in March—Cleveland using its mountain of cap space as capital, taking Osweiler’s bloated deal off the Texans’ hands and getting a second-round pick back—was never about Osweiler. It was about his contract, and it was about the draft pick.

Brown, coach Hue Jackson and Co. walked away with more than that, interestingly enough.

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It was no secret in league circles that Osweiler had clashed with the Houston staff in 2017, soon after he signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the franchise. Knowing that, the Browns coaches were expecting the worst—one reason why Osweiler‘s chances at making it to camp with the team were remote at the time of the trade.

Instead, Osweiler not only made it to camp, but he also forced his way into the crowded conversation over who would be the team’s starting quarterback. He passed Cody Kessler, the 2016 third-rounder who started games last year and took the first half of the summer, and fought it out with rookie DeShone Kizer through camp and into the final week of the preseason.

Along the way, he proved himself to be more coachable—and a better teammate—than anyone expected. He pushed Kizer and Kessler, and my guess is that Jackson will have good things to say if anyone calls to ask about him.

That qualifies as an upset, much moreso than the promising Kizer winning the job.

The book on this trade won’t be closed, of course, until the Browns make the second-round pick (presuming they don’t trade it) they got from Houston, which just so happened to finish a flurry of veteran signings this week (DeAndre Hopkins and CJ Fiedorowicz, to name two) with some of that cap space Osweilier vacated.

But what we do know is that, so far, this one has gone better than expected for everyone, Osweiler included. And now, available at a cut rate (his $16 million for this year has offset language attached, so another team could pay him the minimum and it won’t affect his bottom line), Osweiler should be more attractive to everyone else than he was before.

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