And to make matters somehow even worse than that: the Browns, winners of four total games in the past two seasons, might not even keep the quarterback who threw 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 2016. In the deal, the Browns landed the Houston Texans' second-round in 2018 and sixth-round draft pick in 2017, and surrendered only their 2017 fourth-rounder.
In a statement about the move, Browns GM Sashi Brown revealed what the trade is really all about—those sweet, sweet draft picks. The way he tells it, Osweiler is virtually an afterthought.
"We're really excited to acquire a second-round draft choice in this trade," Brown said. "Draft picks are extremely important to our approach in building a championship-caliber football team. We are intent on adding competition to every position on our roster and look forward to having Brock come in and compete."
In other words, in a move straight out of the NBA, the Browns took on Osweiler's butt contract to land talented young assets.
It's kind of a stroke of genius for Cleveland, now owners of eight picks in the first two rounds of the next two drafts.
The #Browns draft picks after the Osweiler trade:
2017: 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6
2018: 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7
— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) March 9, 2017
The Browns weren't going to turn the franchise around in one season and have more cap space than they'll be able to spend, so it's smart to weaponize that space in an effort to land draft picks. They can keep Osweiler on the roster for the year, pay him his $16 million, then cut him with no repercussions.
From what I understand, the #Browns are weighing simply releasing Brock Osweiler after trading for him. NBA style
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
If they like, they can also cut him now and eat the dead money, which they can afford to do.
As for Houston, the move rids them of Osweiler's terrible contract, freeing them up to pursue the likes of recently available Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.