The Cleveland Browns appeared to make another typical Browns-ish move when they traded with the Texans in March to land quarterback Brock Osweiler.
It was a strange and unprecedented move by NFL standards considering Houston's primary objective was to get out from under the insane four-year $72 million deal after Osweiler's ugly performance during his first season with the Texans.
Cleveland got Osweiler and the Texans' 2018 second-round pick while Houston achieved the seemingly impossible task of freeing up a bunch of much-needed cash.
Initially, there were reports swirling that the Browns wouldn't even keep Osweiler on the roster and had no real intentions of giving him a shot — with an ultimate plan to release or trade him this offseason. The move was more about stockpiling future draft picks (a recent area of expertise for the Cleveland brass) and a lot less about Osweiler's potential as the future Browns' signal caller.
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On a roster loaded with young promising QB talent from Cody Kessler to newly drafted rookie Deshone Kizer, it was hard to envision a scenario where Osweiler gets another chance to lead a NFL franchise.
Not so fast, though.
We probably shouldn't be shocked by this point, but the insane stories that have emerged from Cleveland over the years make anything possible.
#Browns Hue said Brock's been "a pleasant surprise." Nothing like what he heard.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 31, 2017
Is there really a chance for Osweiler to dazzle the Browns' coaching staff and take the field as the starter in Week 1? It's early, but certainly possible.
Mary Kay Cabot — who covers the Browns for Cleveland.com — is more in touch with the franchise than anyone in the business. She reported that Hue Jackson has been "pleasantly surprised," with Osweiler during OTA's so far.
I'm not sure exactly what Jackson could be surprised about. What did he hear before deciding to trade for him? It never seemed like Osweiler was some cancerous locker room guy or struggled with off-the-field issues. The criticism was/is always pointed at his body of work, which was unimpressive to say the least.
Osweiler — who threw 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions with a QBR of 55.3 in 14 games a starter last season — will be remembered in Houston for countless moments like this one.
#Osweiler after another interception. Warning lip readers, you may want to cover your eyes. #khou11 #HOUvsNE 16-34. pic.twitter.com/K6desthsIr
— Shern-Min Chow (@ShernMinKHOU) January 15, 2017
Listen, I'm just a sports writer who was never blessed with the gifts to be able to pursue professional athletics and Osweiler has found a way to stick around in the mega-competitive NFL for six seasons. Kudos — I'm not hear to tear him down.
I am realistic, though, and have a hard time seeing that guy succeed in a place where quarterback careers typically die. Osweiler had the league's top defense, DeAndre Hopkins, Lamar Miller and a bevy of other weapons but failed to deliver in Houston. How will he suddenly right the ship with a sub-par offensive roster on a team that finished 1-15 a season ago?
A few months back, I wrote a piece about Cleveland's incredible draft and the seemingly bright future for a franchise that has been the laughing stock in the NFL for way too long. I stand by that. This team is loaded with young talent on both sides of the ball, it's just a matter of the front office being patient with Jackson as head coach and letting it all fall into place.
Give Kessler, Kizer or even former Stanford standout Kevin Hogan a shot to emerge as an eventual franchise QB. Let them battle adversity and master the system. Osweiler has had his chance. He fits the mold as an excellent backup (ask Peyton Manning) but that's probably as far as his ceiling will go.