Editor’s note: Brien is a well-traveled Houstonian and Army Combat Veteran with an extremely wide range of talents and interests including the NFL (Packers), Irish History, and writing. Follow him on twitter @ODonalsVanguard
Fred Faour has already weighed in with his take here.
By BRIEN O’DONAL
The news hit like and atomic bomb in the otherwise normal cycle of day one free agency. The Texans traded Brock Osweiler, and a 2018 second round pick to the Cleveland Browns. They are also exchanging fourth and sixth round picks in 2017. Essentially the Browns are doing the Texans a favor. I thought they were smarter than that, but the only thing I can think of is that they have so much cap space that they made that trade simply for the second rounder next year. They can’t really believe Brock is worth that kind of money or would somehow change everything about how he plays quarterback over one offseason. But then again, they really do have a lot of cap space.
This trade gives them a player that can fill a roster spot and provide competition to whoever else they bring in while still having the money to cut him if it doesn’t work. Maybe that’s worth it for a second round pick. After all, they have been stockpiling those since the new management took over. Another angle could be the offensive line signings they made today. The Browns might think Hue Jackson can improve Osweiler on the field now that they have a better group blocking for him. With the No. 12 pick in this year’s draft they might be angling for a project rookie and feel like Osweiler can do just enough the keep him off the field the first year. All I can say is that there’s a slight chance the Browns truly are smarter now than in the past decade.
For the Texans, this is a miracle. With Tony Romo expressing interest there was a chance they could lose that simply because of cap space. Being free of Osweiler’s $16 million cap hit and opening up an extra $10 million may be just what they need to get this year’s best free agent quarterback. If that deal happens then Rick Smith will surely survive another year, possibly Bill O’Brien too. With all the money the Texans have tied into big contracts it was terrible to get next to nothing in performance from one of them. Now it’s Cleveland’s problem. The Texans just have to get Romo and hopefully sign him with enough room to afford more protection up front. From the linemen I’ve seen signing elsewhere today they better work fast. The group they have now could cause Romo to get broken and them to look like fools again.
All in all this has to be the biggest story of free agency and I couldn’t possibly foresee anything else topping it. The Texans got what they wanted and the Browns may or may not have gotten fleeced. The past two years I have begun to have more faith in Browns management so I feel like they know what they are doing, but I could be wrong. If Osweiler sticks around there and helps bridge the gap to their future then they will be all the better, if he isn’t then they still have money to not care. All of Houston should be cheering right now and hoping next year’s star is a guy who used to wear one.