So it seems that rookie DeShone Kizer has won the starting quarterback job for the Cleveland Browns—unless he hasn’t. Head Coach Hue Jackson seemed to hedge a bit, but ultimately seemed to imply that unless he struggles tremendously during their third preseason game, he is going to enter the regular season as their starting quarterback.
In doing so, he will have beat out second-year former third-round draft pick Cody Kessler, who entered his rookie season as the third-string quarterback but was starting by the third game of the season after the top two on the depth chart both suffered injuries that kept them out most of the year.
His primary competition, however, was seemingly sixth-year veteran Brock Osweiler, a former second-round pick of the Broncos who won a Super Bowl with the team in 2015 as a part-time starter, though he had lost his job again by the time the playoffs began.
He played well enough to get the Texans to commit a substantial sum to him the following season, but his play in 2016 clearly indicated that he wasn’t worth it. It was to their great relief that the Browns came along this spring and offered to take on his abhorrent contract while sending a fourth-round pick their way in compensation for a second-round pick. I believe they may have also gotten back another late-round pick.
The reports began immediately however that the team was looking to part with him, hopefully to find a trading partner or, failing that, simply releasing him, even though it would not save them the salary cap space.
Reportedly, the Browns have continued to seek a trading partner for him all throughout training camp, and it continues today. And Osweiler appears to be amenable to it. “I’m still a very, very young quarterback in this league”, he said. “I still think I have a lot to bring to the table and I’m very eager to show people that”.
He declined to comment on whether or not he would ask to be traded, instead offering, “I love this organization, I love coming to work here every day”. He also said that the decision was fair and that all three quarterbacks were given an equal opportunity to win the job.
Kizer’s preseason performance has clearly been the best among the three, however, and he has done particularly well under pressure. The second-round pick spent his time playing against reserves, however, and the third preseason game will test him against a higher quality of competition.
The starting job is likely his, at least for now. But if he struggles enough, it would not be surprising to see him pulled. Whether or not Osweiler will still be on the team should that happen is undetermined, though they may require a desperate team to be able to unload him.