Head coach Hue Jackson said 2017 second-round draft pick DeShone Kizer will have a chance to compete with Osweiler and Cody Kessler for the starting job, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Acquired along with a 2018 second-round draft pick as part of a salary dump earlier in the offseason, Osweiler is on the books for a guaranteed $16 million salary in 2017 -- giving the Browns little incentive to release him at this juncture. He thus figures to be part of the team's quarterback competition, though he'd presumably have to outshine the 23-year-old Kessler and 21-year-old Kizer by a wide margin to actually win the starting job for a rebuilding team. While they wouldn't get any cap relief from releasing Osweiler, the Browns might ultimately decide they prefer 24-year-old Kevin Hogan as the third quarterback for the final roster. Kizer and Kessler are obvious locks to make the team, with the latter an early favorite to start Week 1.
Previous reports suggested Osweiler likely would be released or traded, but it now seems the Browns may consider keeping him around, if for no reason other than his contract. Cleveland accepted the cumbersome contract in exchange for draft compensation from Houston, taking on Osweiler's fully-guaranteed $16 million salary for 2017. In addition to making it difficult to work out a second trade, the guaranteed salary leaves Cleveland with no real incentive to release the 26-year-old quarterback at this juncture. Osweiler likely will stick with his new team at least through the upcoming draft, at which point the Browns figure to acquire a rookie quarterback -- possibly as soon as the opening round. The franchise hopes to have either a rookie or 2016 third-rounder Cody Kessler under center in Week 1, yet it isn't out of the question Osweiler could at least nominally be part of the competition for the No. 1 job. Of course, the Browns would already be committing two roster spots to Kessler and a rookie, which would likely leave the team to decide between Osweiler and Kevin Hogan for one job. It's still possible the Browns end up paying Osweiler $16 million (or close to it) without ever having him on the roster for a regular-season game. His presence at voluntary offseason workouts suggests he's accepting of the unusual situation and his uncertain future with the team.
Osweiler was present Monday for the start of voluntary workouts, Scott Petrak of The Elryria Chronicle-Telegram reports.
The Browns are expected to trade or release Osweiler at some point this offseason, but the team may want to keep him around until after the draft, just in case it doesn't secure a quarterback within the first few rounds. Such a scenario doesn't seem likely, but if for some reason the Browns don't draft one of their preferred signal-callers, it's possible Osweiler could be kept around to compete with second-year players Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan. Cleveland received draft compensation in exchange for taking Osweiler and his hefty contract off of Houston's books. His $16 million base salary for 2017 is fully guaranteed, but the rest of his contract can be voided without any penalty.
Since Osweiler was acquired on March 9, the Browns haven't said much regarding the beleaguered quarterback, other than head coach Hue Jackson's comments in late March. "He's a guy that's gonna come in and compete," Jackson said of Osweiler, according to Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com. The Browns start their offseason program on April 17, so that may be the drop-dead deadline for the organization to move on. No matter what decision is made, the team is committed to the development of Cody Kessler, who fared well in nine appearances as a rookie last season. While completing 66 percent of his throws -- 128 of 195 -- he racked up 1,380 yards and six touchdowns versus two interceptions, which is a far cry from Osweiler's 15:16 TD:INT ratio. If Osweiler finds himself in a new home in the coming months, a reserve role is likely the best he can hope for after last year's dismal showing.
A previous report suggested the Browns don't plan to keep Osweiler, who was acquired along with a second-round draft pick in a trade designed to free up cap space for the Texans. The 26-year-old didn't look like starting material in his one-year stint in Houston, but he would at least provide some veteran competition for second-year players Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan, the other two quarterbacks currently on Cleveland's roster. The Browns might still acquire another veteran or use a draft pick on a quarterback, but if not, it would make sense to at least give Osweiler a brief look during offseason workouts before making a final decision.
|P3||8/26/17||@ TB||7:30 pm|
|P4||8/31/17||@ CHI||8:00 pm|
|2||9/17/17||@ BAL||1:00 pm|
|3||9/24/17||@ IND||1:00 pm|
|6||10/15/17||@ HOU||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|10||11/12/17||@ DET||1:00 pm|
|12||11/26/17||@ CIN||1:00 pm|
|13||12/3/17||@ LAC||4:05 pm|
|16||12/24/17||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|17||12/31/17||@ PIT||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|