Analyzing the Brock Osweiler Trade for the Cleveland Browns

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 14: Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans in action during the Houston Texans Vs New England Patriots Divisional round game during the NFL play-offs on January 14th, 2017 at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
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Former Broncos and Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler has been traded. In one of the off-season’s shocking moves, the Houston Texans have traded Osweiler, their starting quarterback, to the Cleveland Browns. Of course, Houston fans can see this as a sigh of relief. Finally, they can move Osweiler’s over-inflated contract off of their books. Additionally, they can finally close the case on the failed “Osweiler experiment.” So surely, this move was a great one for the Houston Texans. But what about the other side? What are the implications of this trade for the Cleveland Browns?

Analyzing the Brock Osweiler Trade for the Cleveland Browns

Taking the Salary Cap Hit Was a Good Thing

It is hard to even begin to comprehend how far the Cleveland Browns are under the salary cap. First of all, they began free agency with over 100 million dollars in cap space. Not only that, but their total cap space started at 217 million. Not only that, but they also were well under the league minimum. Seeing as each team has to spend at least 493.55 million, taking Osweiler’s contract could be a blessing in disguise for the Browns.

As mentioned before, the Texans signed Osweiler to a massive contract in 2016. As it turned out, Osweiler was not even close to living up to the cap. The Brock Osweiler experiment in Houston was a complete failure. During his lone season with the Texans, he threw for fifteen touchdowns and sixteen interceptions. Not exactly ideal stats for someone with a 72 million dollar deal. However, the Browns have all the cap in the world. In addition, they need a quarterback of some kind going into 2017. Sorry Cody Kessler, but you might just be sitting on the bench in favor of the “Brock Star” next season. Or maybe the Browns either trade him or cut him and swallow his contract.

Wheel Him and Deal Him

Speaking of that, the Browns might be getting rid of Osweiler before he even takes a snap. In addition to giving Osweiler to the Browns, the Texans packaged in a 2018 second-round pick. All the Browns had to give up in return was a fourth-round pick this year, and then Osweiler was on his way. And he might be on his way again soon if the Browns want to make a run at Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo has been a supposed target for the Browns since before the off-season began. Although he has not seen much playing time in New England, many fans and analysts alike see a lot in “Jimmy G.” As for now, the Patriots do not seem to want to trade Garoppolo, as Tom Brady continues to age. However, that might change if the Browns give them an offer that they simply cannot refuse.

In each of the next two NFL Drafts, the Browns have eleven picks. In 2017 alone, the Browns have five of the first 65 draft picks. During the 2018 NFL Draft, Cleveland will have their own first-round pick and three second-round selections. If Cleveland’s front office likes Garoppolo that much, they could be willing to “trade the farm” for him like the Eagles did for Carson Wentz.

How To Buy Out the NFL Draft

When this trade came through, every analyst on NFL Network was floored. The news came flooding in after a commercial break, and as the deal’s details came through, Cleveland’s message became clear. The Cleveland Browns are becoming football’s equivalent to Moneyball.

First of all, they hired Paul DePodesta and Sashi Brown last off-season. When looking at these two, it is clear that the Browns are all-in on their “analytics” approach. Both DePodesta and Brown went to Harvard Law School, making them a shoe-in for analytics. Now let’s look at this trade in that light.

While the news was breaking of the trade on NFL Network, Browns insiders mentioned that the aim of this trade was to get the draft pick, not Osweiler himself. Essentially, the Cleveland Browns bought a second-round draft pick for 16 million dollars a year. If that draft pick becomes better than Brock Osweiler, the Browns immediately win this trade. If not, they just wasted 16 million. While the Moneyball approach is definitely risky, the rewards could be great.

Conclusion: In Hue and Sashi We Trust

Browns coach Hue Jackson has gained a league-wide reputation as a “quarterback whisperer.” Jackson brought out the best in both Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton. It is not totally crazy to think that maybe, just maybe, he sees something in Brock Osweiler.

Perhaps Jackson is willing to work with Osweiler, and maybe he becomes “the guy” in Cleveland. If so, the Browns have essentially just bought themselves their long-awaited franchise quarterback. If Osweiler ends up not working out (like most people expect) the Browns still have that draft pick.

In the end, fans cannot control what the Cleveland Browns do. But what fans can do is have faith. For once, it looks like the Browns are set up for success. After their litany of free agency moves, Hue Jackson and company could be setting up for a rather successful 2017. They have a ton of draft picks throughout the next two years, and should they spend them correctly, the Browns could have a bright future. As far as “master plans” go, the Browns could be cooking up a tremendous one right now. And should the Browns make good on their abundance of draft picks, Cleveland could be in for some playoff action in a few years.


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