It’s not every day that you see a team referring to a prominent player that they traded for as a “pleasant surprise”, but that is evidently the experience in Berea right now when it comes to the Cleveland Browns’ developing relationship with former Broncos and Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, who is the most experience player at his position on the roster.
The aforementioned trade quickly became rather famous for being a supposed ‘salary dump’, which is technically not supposed to be allowed in the NFL, though it is permitted to a degree in other leagues. The Texans were so fed up with Osweiler and his massive contract after just one season that they included a second-round pick in the deal in exchange for a fourth-round pick from the Browns.
In the team’s press conference announcing the trade, the type gushed over their savvy in obtaining the high draft pick while seemingly throwing a mention toward the fact that they also acquired an otherwise quarterback in the mix.
There were early reports that the Browns were considering outright releasing Osweiler and eating the massive guaranteed value of his contract, or otherwise attempting to flip him again to another team, but at least up until this point, they have held on to him, and at this point, it seems likely that they will carry him into the season, whether he starts or not.
While the Browns have released the top two quarterbacks from their depth chart last season in Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown, their second-year former third-round pick, Cody Kessler, is currently running with the first-team offense. Kessler started the bulk of the season last year due to the injuries of the others, and the team saw potential in him, particularly in his accuracy and his decision-making.
He, too, got banged up, leaving multiple games, twice with concussions, including one against the Steelers, but he was able to rally his teammates around him. Still, that did not prevent the Browns from adding Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
And Osweiler is continuing to work, and continuing to improve his reputation. While he might have gotten some blowback when he told a reporter that he believed his body of work from the past two seasons is proof that he is capable of being a starting quarterback, his teammates and coaches are pleased with what they have seen.
His Head Coach, Hue Jackson, told reporters that he has been a “pleasant surprise”, and that “he has a good feel to him”. There were reports that his schism with the Texans stemmed from a major blow-up argument. Jackson said that “everybody has a reputation”, but that “he’s not that”.
It wasn’t until the first game of the preseason last year that Jackson declared a starter among Griffin, McCown, and Kessler last year. This year, between Kessler, Kizer, and Osweiler, we may find ourselves waiting even longer to find out who the first starter of the year will be for the Browns.