The Athletic first reported news of Osweiler’s release.
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The primary takeaway from Monday’s revelation is not that Osweiler is in the driver’s seat. It’s that early-August proclamations are too often rendered premature.
Osweiler started the first 14 games of the season for the Texans, but he was benched for Savage in Houston’s Week 15 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars after he threw two interceptions in the first half. Sunday’s loss was just Savage’s second career NFL start.
When asked about the QB’s play in his post-game presser, Texans coach Bill O’Brien — who confirmed he’d return to Houston as head coach next season — didn’t even reference Osweiler, instead commenting about the poor play of the offense as a whole.
Does that leave Osweiler as the Browns’ third-string quarterback? They could always be holding on to the former second-round pick with the hope they can flip him for a draft asset late in the summer. But what happens if there is an unusually clean training camp for the league’s premier passers?
Starting Osweiler against New Orleans gives the quarterback a chance to secure the starting job. Jackson said on Thursday that if Osweiler plays poorly in this week’s matchup, someone else will get a chance. If he moves the ball, he will keep the job.
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This is a win for Osweiler considering that Kessler was considered the team’s No. 1 heading into camp. Given the hellish year he just endured in Houston and the potential embarrassment of having his contract dumped in Cleveland, it seems like the former Broncos second-round pick is making the best of a less-than-ideal situation.
In a move that comes as little surprise, the Browns have released the veteran quarterback they traded for in March as part of an unusual deal with the Texans, a source informed of the move told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and cheap NFL jerseys Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Osweiler will step in right away behind starter Trevor Siemian, mirroring the role he played under Peyton Manning for four seasons in Denver. When Lynch returns from injury, however, the Broncos will evaluate their need for Osweiler at the position.
The Browns acquired Osweiler in a March trade that also sent Houston’s second-round pick in the 2018 draft to Cleveland. The Browns basically accepted Osweiler’s guaranteed $16 million salary to get the draft pick. But when they could not find a solution to the quarterback position other than the draft, they kept Osweiler through the preseason.
A few months ago, the Browns traded for Osweiler and his odious contract in a move celebrated at the time as a ruthless and clever grab on draft capital by Sashi Brown and company. Reports swirled that Osweiler was merely a means to an end; Cleveland would either try to flip Osweiler in a trade or cut the beleaguered quarterback altogether.
Osweiler has remained the team’s first quarterback during practice. He gets the first-team reps, he’s the first to line up under center and he’s not done anything in practice that would warrant being removed. The team has not been in the least discouraging about Osweiler either. Jackson said he saw good and not so good in Osweiler’s game against the Saints, and quarterback coach David Lee was even more positive.
Kessler has every intangible a team could want in a quarterback: He works, he prepares, he studies, he cares. But he seems to have lost confidence since his initial starts as a rookie, and that, combined with questionable arm strength, can lead to trouble.
When the trade was announced, Osweiler was more or less considered a throw-in in a deal that brought the Browns a second-round draft pick in 2018. The Browns immediately took calls about trading Osweiler, but when no deal was agreed to, the Browns decided to keep him and see what he could do.