Another quarterback bites the dust in the NFL – which could mean another man’s pain is the Browns pleasure.
The Miami Dolphins are awaiting word back on starting QB Ryan Tannehill, who suffered a potentially serious knee injury in camp on Wednesday. This injury comes just days after the Colts found out Andrew Luck could miss the first six regular season games as his shoulder recovers slowly from a 2016 injury.
Losing your starting quarterback in late July/early August is the ultimate pain point in the NFL given the dearth of options for starting level quarterbacks in the NFL.
One name that won’t go away is former 49er Colin Kaepernick. He’s been linked to Seattle & Baltimore over the past few months, but his multiple National Anthem protests last year in San Francisco seem to be holding him back for garnering gainful employment.
He reportedly has the support of Baltimore’s Head Coach John Harbaugh & GM Ozzie Newsome, but owner Steve Biscotti remains weary of a public relations backlash. Most quarterback hungry teams in the NFL seem to toe that line, despite cries of black balling for Kaepernick supporters.
This leads us to current Browns quarterback Brock Osweiler.
He’s coming off a disastrous season in Houston just one year into a $72 million deal. One that went so poorly the Texans spent a 2nd round draft pick getting rid of his contract to Cleveland in February.
Still, Osweiler is one season off of being highly thought of enough to garner a $72 million dollar deal. He also has experience leading a Super Bowl winning team in the absence of their starting quarterback from 2015 in Denver, and the former second round pick is still only 26 years old.
Add in the positive relationship Osweiler maintained with Dolphins Head Coach Adam Gase in Denver, and a fit may make perfect sense.
What remains to be seen is the Browns own feelings on Osweiler.
He was an afterthought in the acquisition of a second round pick, there was a strong sentiment around the draft they wanted to deal him and he has gotten significant less reps in practice than Cody Kessler or DeShone Kizer.
That stated, the Browns QB carousel proves year-after-year that this team can never have enough quarterbacks, particularly those with a healthy amount of starting experience.
Would Osweiler’s $16 million guaranteed salary be an obstacle in trade talks? The Browns were rumored to be willing to pay some of it down to increase their compensation in return during the draft.
You also have to wonder the message that trading Osweiler might send to a young locker room.
He is still counted among the contenders for the team’s quarterback battle and the organization wants to maintain the positive vibe around the team as they attempt to erase a 1-15 season from memory.
Sending out Osweiler for more draft capital might signal a young team that next year is still more important than this one & hinder the organization’s attempts to change culture around Berea.
Another risk the Browns would be taking is pushing all the chips in the inexperienced tandem of Kizer & Kessler, and sending Osweiler elsewhere. Kizer has shown promise in camp but is still a second round pick. Kessler continues to struggle with arm strength & a hesitation to throw down the field.
Should he look more than capable elsewhere with Kizer/Kessler failing to impact this team, there would be significant questions from fans & ownership why Osweiler wasn’t given a more fair stake in the quarterback battle.
There is already a precedence for such a move. Last year the Vikings lost starter Teddy Bridgewater to a horrific knee injury and traded a 1st round pick for Sam Bradford right before the start of the regular season.
That price is likely far too rich for any team with Osweiler but assuming the Browns pitch in money, a 4th round pick doesn’t feel like a king’s ransom considering all the facts.
While no one is certain if either team would be motivated to act, the initial Osweiler trade continues to be more valuable to the Browns as training camp goes along. After years of incompetence in Berea, there is more evidence Sashi Brown keeps making good decisions.
It might not be the Super Bowl, but good decisions are a nice start.