It probably wasn’t the sort of confidence-booster that he may have been looking for when former Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler learned that he was being traded—along with a second-round pick—to the Cleveland Browns early this offseason in what was essentially a very rare ‘salary dump’ trade in the NFL.
It didn’t help matters that he seemingly only got passing mention in the Browns’ subsequent press release about the trade, in which they spoke glowingly about their shiny new draft pick with an “oh, we got a quarterback too”. You will likely recall that there were widespread rumors that Cleveland may simply try to flip him again, or even outright release him.
But, in his own words to reporters recently, “the facts are I’m here, I’m playing football, I love being a Cleveland Brown, and it’s just been so great to work with Coach Jackson, Coach Lee. I’ve grown so much this spring, especially in OTAs”.
There were intense reports throughout the offseason that the Browns were going to try to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots. Then they were reportedly hotly debating passing on Myles Garrett with the first-overall selection to draft Mitchell Trubisky, who ended up going second.
Further opportunities fell through later on down the line until they ultimately pulled the trigger for Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer, who joins Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan to form the Browns’ current platoon of quarterbacks.
Kessler was the Browns’ primary starter last year as a rookie, though it came due to not one, but two injuries. Still, the team believes that he has earned the opportunity to enter the offseason taking first-team reps, but Osweiler believes he can win the job.
“My expectation is always to start”, he said. “If I came out here and told you guys I wanted to be the backup, I’m in the wrong business”, though he noted that it ultimately won’t be his decision to make. The Texans ended up benching him after signing him to a big contract in 2016, previously accruing less than a season’s worth of starting experience.
While he was deferent to Kessler’s position in the current pecking order, the former second-round draft pick reiterated that “nobody plays this game to be a backup”, which is something that he has been for the majority of his career.
He had a more than respectable attitude about his position, but he caught some flak after telling reporters that he believes his body of work over the course of the past two seasons exemplified the resume of a starting NFL quarterback.
“That’s okay” was really all he could muster in response to his claim that his prior tape was starter-worthy. But we are talking about an organization that in its current iteration has basically never had a stable quarterback, so it certainly wouldn’t be shocking if he opened the 2017 season as a starter.