One year ago, Brock Osweiler was in something of a bidding war between the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans.
With Peyton Manning retiring and a weak quarterback market, Osweiler had flashed enough in seven games with the Broncos, plus four years of tutelage under Manning, to draw serious interest in free agency.
The Texans ended up winning the war, giving Osweiler a four-year, $US72 million contract with two years and $US36 million guaranteed, more than the Broncos were willing to offer.
Fast-forward one year and Osweiler has suffered a somewhat stunning fall from grace. After just one disappointing year in Houston, the Texans traded him on Thursday to the Cleveland Browns, throwing in a 2017 sixth-round pick and 2018 second-round pick to sweeten the pot.
Upon breaking the trade, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Browns were not interested in keeping Osweiler. Schefter reported the Texans were “anxious” to be rid of Osweiler’s contract and move on, noting that the trade resembled an NBA trade, where teams will deal big contracts to clear them off the books.
ESPN’s Ed Werder also reported that the Browns didn’t seem too interested in the player they got in the deal, just the picks.
It’s unclear what will happen next to Osweiler, but he doesn’t seem long for Cleveland. Schefter reported that the Browns have received calls from teams for Osweiler. Whether that means they actually want Osweiler the player, or his contract for salary-cap purposes remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported the Browns will likely cut Osweiler, assuming nobody offers a trade for him.
Osweiler completed just 59% of his passes in 2016 for 2,957 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. He posted a 72.2 passer rating and completed just 17.6% of his passes beyond 21 yards. He failed to develop chemistry with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who had just 954 yards and four touchdowns in 2016 a year after posting 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns with the likes of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett at the helm. When Osweiler was benched in December for backup Tom Savage, the Houston fans gave a standing ovation.
Osweiler is just 26 and obviously hasn’t had much stability during his career, first playing sparsely under Manning and then in a new system with a new team in Houston. He could one day develop into a competent quarterback, but with a hefty contract still attached, it seems unlikely that he’ll be given the long leash required to thrive anytime soon.
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