The initial impulse of many to the Cleveland Browns’ trade for quarterback Brock Osweiler and a second-round pick was one of bemusement, as one who finds the bumbling fool being his usual self. But as the dust settled, the deal started to make more and more sense to many people, though not everybody.
The Browns were pretty upfront about the fact that their target in the trade was the second-round pick, and the $16 million quarterback was secondary, if not simply collateral. According to Browns beat writers, Cleveland has no intention of keeping a $16 million backup quarterback on the roster to start the 2017 season.
Which means one of two things, of course, both of which will work out roughly similar to one another. If they are able to trade Osweiler, they will be able to recoup another draft pick of some value in addition to being able to pass on some of that money they would owe him.
Failing the ability to find a trading partner, the Browns will reportedly release him, but that doesn’t mean that they will be on the hook for $16 million.
That’s because he apparently has the same sort of offset language in his contract as Darrell Revis had with the Jets. So any money he gets from another team that signs him will be basically taken off Cleveland’s tab.
Many are positing that Revis will simply sit out the season and collect his millions if he can’t find a deal with more than $6 million, which is the amount of guaranteed money he is owed from the Jets. Osweiler is in no position to do the same if he intends to have a future in this league.
The former second-round draft pick is far from a proven starter. He may have been able to find somebody willing to pay him like one, but if he wants to find himself another starting job somewhere in the league, he can’t be thinking about sitting out a season. What would that say to teams about the player you’re making the face of your franchise, your team leader?
If Osweiler is released, he will at some point be signed by somebody else. He is not actually a terrible quarterback, even if he might not be handed a starting job.
But the point is that the Browns can still shave some of the price tag off of that second-round pick yet, which makes the deal sound that much more sensible for them.
More sensible than having a $16 million backup that you traded for as collateral.