Brock Osweiler

AFC Notes: Bills, Browns, Patriots

The Bills will send representatives to Clemson to meet with quarterback Deshaun Watson on Friday, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Bills general manager Doug Whaley is supposedly “in love” with Watson, but there’s a belief that the team’s highest-graded QB prospect is North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com said Thursday on NFL Network (via Conor Orr of NFL.com). The problem for Buffalo, if it looks to draft a first-round passer, is that Trubisky might not be on the board when it’s on the clock at No. 10. Cleveland, which owns the 12th pick, may be angling to move ahead of the Bills to ensure it grabs Trubisky.

More on Buffalo and two other AFC clubs:

  • Shortly after Cleveland acquired Brock Osweiler from Houston last month, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported the Browns were willing to eat around half of the quarterback’s $16MM base salary for 2017 in order to trade him. It turns out the exact number is $10MM, tweets La Canfora. It seems likely that the Browns will eventually cut Osweiler if they’re unable to trade him, but given that he’s still on the roster, both executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson have said that they expect him to compete for the team’s starting QB job. Of course, the Browns will probably add another signal-caller in the draft (be it Trubisky or someone else), perhaps lessening Osweiler’s chances of making the club.
  • The Patriots ventured to the University of Connecticut on Thursday for a meeting with safety Obi Melifonwu, according to Ryan Hannable of WEEI. New England’s not slated to pick until the third round, No. 72 overall, and Melifonwu should be long gone by then. However, trading cornerback Malcolm Butler to the Saints for the 32nd pick could put the Patriots in position to select Melifonwu.
  • Austin Knoblauch of NFL.com offers more details on a bizarre incident involving Bills offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio this week. Police in Elma, N.Y., responded to a 9:22 a.m. call on Wednesday regarding a suspicious man in a field, which turned out to be a partially undressed Kouandjio. Firefighters then had to administer first aid to Kouandjio for an undisclosed condition. And though Kouandjio screamed “Shoot me!,” he was cooperative with deputies and was not arrested. Kouandjio did go to Erie County Medical Center for further evaluation, however.

Browns Unlikely To Trade For Veteran QB

The Browns don’t envision trading for a veteran quarterback, general manager Sashi Brown told reporters, including Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (Twitter link), today. Depending on Brown’s definition of the word “veteran,” that could rule out pursuits of the Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo and the Bengals’ A.J. McCarron.Jimmy Garoppolo (Vertical)

[RELATED: Browns Likely To Keep No. 1 Overall Pick]

New England reportedly isn’t willing to deal Garoppolo, but that hasn’t stopped the Browns from inquiring. The Patriots’ price for Garoppolo has varied, but Cleveland’s No. 12 pick isn’t going to get a deal done. The Browns aren’t willing to trade the No. 1 overall pick in exchange for a quarterback, so they may simply not match up with the Patriots on a swap.

The Bengals, meanwhile, aren’t actively shopping McCarron, but are willing to trade him (and would even be comfortable shipping him within the AFC North). Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com recently hinted Cincinnati would be open to sending McCarron and the ninth overall pick to Cleveland for pick Nos. 12 and 33. Using Chase Stuart of Football Perspective‘s draft value chart, that deal would imply McCarron is worth the 44th overall selection on his own.

At present, the Browns’ depth chart at quarterback includes Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, and Brock Osweiler. Although Osweiler had been expected to be traded or released, Brown said today the ex-Texan will have a chance to compete for the starting QB role, tweets Marc Sessler of NFL.com. Of course, that sentiment could simply be lip service until Cleveland decides how to proceed with Osweiler.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Chargers, Steelers, Osweiler

Some assorted notes from around the NFL on this Sunday evening…

  • Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and his staff have been preparing for the upcoming draft for more than a year, and ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams writes that they were prepping with former defensive coordinator John Pagano’s system in mind. However, despite the addition of head coach Anthony Lynn and new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Telesco says the team’s plans haven’t been disrupted.
  • The Chargers acquiring Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman “makes too much sense to ever happen,” writes Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Besides Sherman’s connection with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Florio notes that the California native’s temperament would benefit a team that’s seeking “a dynamic personality.” The writer wonders if the Chargers’ 38th-overall pick would be of any interest to Seattle.
  • Now that Lawrence Timmons has departed the Steelers for Miami, Vince Williams projects to start at inside linebacker for Pittsburgh alongside Ryan Shazier. Of course, the Steelers did pursue Dont’a Hightower in free agency, and as Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, the team’s draft strategy will say a lot about Williams’ future with the club. If the Steelers select an inside linebacker in the first three rounds of the draft — and this year’s class of inside linebackers is very thin — then that would suggest that their faith in Williams is rather shaky.
  • Nothing has changed on the Brock Osweiler front. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the Browns will continue to look to trade Osweiler over draft weekend, and if they cannot find a taker, they will continue to pursue a trade over the coming months. Otherwise, they will simply cut him. Cabot believes the team will still try to add a veteran that can start for them in 2017, and if Osweiler is still on the roster when the regular season rolls around, it will be because they failed to find someone they like better.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Steelers, Ravens

The Browns will host North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky for a private workout Friday, reports Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. Trubisky’s workout won’t count as one of the Browns’ 30 allotted pre-draft visits because it’s a pro day for prospects who are either from the area (Trubisky’s an Ohio native) or attended college there. While the Browns have two first-round picks (Nos. 1 and 12), they’re only considering using the second selection on Trubisky, relays Cabot. They’re primed to spend the top choice on Texas A&M edge defender Myles Garrett.

More from Cleveland two other AFC North cities:

  • At least one of the Browns’ current QBs, Brock Osweiler, isn’t a lock to stay on their roster. “Brock could be on our team or we could trade him,” owner Jimmy Haslam told Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com. “There’s lots of options out there.” Haslam’s noncommittal attitude toward Osweiler isn’t remotely surprising, as the expectation is the Browns will cut or trade him. It’s fair to say Cleveland only acquired Osweiler (and his $16MM base salary) from Houston this month as a way to pick up a second-round pick. Haslam noted that the Browns are “excited” about that selection.
  • More information on the Browns, who “made a very aggressive” and “long-term” offer to re-sign wide receiver Terrelle Pryor before he inked a one-year, $6MM deal with Washington, Haslam confirmed (via Ulrich). The Browns were reportedly willing to give Pryor $8.5MM per year.
  • Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has mulled retirement this offseason, but it seems the 35-year-old will play in 2017. Roethlisberger said earlier this month he’s “leaning towards” continuing his career, and head coach Mike Tomlin revealed Monday the two have had “pretty fluid conversation” about the Steelers’ offseason moves (via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com).
  • Tomlin also laid out Monday what the Steelers’ main needs are entering the draft, telling Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they must add pass rushers and defensive backs who can play man coverage. “Our inability to play man-to-man effectively and our inability to apply pressure on the quarterback without blitzing were issues in that game,”  Tomlin said of the Steelers’ 36-17 loss to the Patriots in the AFC title game, in which Tom Brady completed 32 of 42 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns.
  • With less than $8MM in cap room remaining, the Ravens are unlikely to pursue any more free agents until at least after the draft, team president Dick Cass informed Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. “We’d like to preserve the opportunity to win a compensatory draft pick,” said Cass. “We really have to wait until [May 9] before we will sign a player, most likely. But you never say never. If an opportunity comes along, we might take it.” Cass added that the Ravens “have to be careful” with their remaining spending space, though he does think they’ll use all of it.

AFC Notes: Browns, Raiders, Steelers

While the Browns are likely to move on from newly acquired quarterback Brock Osweiler before he ever plays a down in Cleveland, head coach Hue Jackson indicated Sunday the 26-year-old will have a chance to compete for the team’s No. 1 job, tweets Jeff Schudel of The News-Herald. It’s difficult to take Jackson seriously in this case, however, and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com senses that he’s uninterested in trying to transform the former Bronco and Texan into a viable starter. As such, the Browns remain on track to jettison Osweiler via trade or release, Cabot writes.

The latest on a couple other AFC teams:

  • Count Jets owner Woody Johnson among the many around the NFL who are unimpressed with the city of Oakland’s attempt to keep the Raiders. “They didn’t make a valiant effort,” Johnson told Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter link). It seems fair to infer from Johnson’s comment that he’ll vote in favor of the Raiders’ relocation bid Monday. The Raiders’ Mark Davis will need 23 yes votes from the league’s other 31 owners to realize his Vegas goal. He’s unlikely to have difficulty garnering approval from his colleagues, two anonymous owners told the Associated Press. “Not only have no hurdles been made clear to us, but there isn’t any opposition to it,” said one. Added the other, “It’s going to happen and the sooner we do it, the better it is for the league and for the Raiders.”
  • Pittsburgh took a serious run at inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower in free agency before he re-signed with the Patriots, which Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert addressed Sunday. “We made an attempt (to sign Hightower). It didn’t work. We’re fine, we move on,” said Colbert (via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). The Steelers also lost stalwart ILB Lawrence Timmons in free agency, though Colbert insists that they’re “very confident” that Vince Williams is capable of stepping up in the wake of Timmons’ departure. Williams has only started six games since an 11-start rookie campaign in 2013, though, and played just 25.7 percent of the Steelers’ defensive snaps last season. It “remains to be seen” if the 27-year-old has what it takes to be a three-down player, offered Colbert.
  • A far more prominent member of the Steelers, running back Le’Veon Bell, is entering a contract year as the team’s franchise player. Long-term negotiations between the two sides will ramp up after the draft, per Rutter. “It will be a very complicated type of deal,” said Colbert, who added that locking up Bell “always has been our goal.” The leaguewide deadline to re-up franchise tag recipients to multiyear pacts is July 15, which will give the Steelers two-plus months to get a deal done with Bell if they take a post-draft approach.

AFC Rumors: Osweiler, Jets, Dolphins, Misi

The Texans had no intention of bringing quarterback Brock Osweiler back in 2017, as Peter King of TheMMQB.com writes. Talks between Houston and Cleveland began at the scouting combine, per King, and the two sides ultimately agreed on a deal that sent Osweiler (and his contract), a 2018 second-round pick, and a 2017 sixth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for a 2017 fourth-round pick. While the trade may work out for both clubs, it’s fair to wonder if Houston would have simply released Osweiler if no such proposal was created.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Defensive end Howard Jones is visiting with the Jets on Friday, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com tweets. Tampa Bay did not tender him as an exclusive rights free agent, making him an unrestricted free agent earlier this month. Jones had five sacks in five starts in 2015 before suffering a torn ACL in 2016. He is not yet fully healthy, but doctors believe he might be able to get full clearance before training camp, per Laine.
  • Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi will likely either be released or have his salary reduced, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The 30-year-old Misi is expected to be fully recovered from a serious neck injury time in time for the 2017 season, but he’s due a $4.175MM base salary next year. Given that Misi only played in three games in 2016 and isn’t guaranteed a starting job going forward, that’s an untenable figure.
  • Meanwhile, free agent guard Jermon Bushrod wants to re-sign with the Dolphins, but the club only views him as a fallback option, reports Salguero. Miami is reportedly “re-assessing the market” at the moment, and doesn’t feel the need to make hurried signings, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald details. Still, the Dolphins need to bring in at least one more guard after agreeing to terms with Ted Larsen, and the team is in fact discussing Bushrod, per Jackson. Bushrod, 32, graded out as a bottom-four guard in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Osweiler, Butler, Campbell

A Week 17 altercation with head coach Bill O’Brien fueled the Texans to move quarterback Brock Osweiler, writes Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.

Osweiler, who was traded in a cap-dump to the Browns last week, was inserted into that game against the Titans after starter Tom Savage went down with a concussion. Savage was ruled out for the game during half time, at which time Osweiler learned that he’d be playing the rest of the contest.

The now-traded quarterback “reacted negatively” to this news, according to Florio, claiming that the Texans were only playing him because O’Brien “needs him.” An argument ensued, and at one point, the coach apparently blocked Osweiler from exiting the office. The quarterback would subsequently say that he was “held hostage” during the confrontation. Previously, former NFL defensive back Bryant McFadden had said players and coaches had to hold O’Brien and Osweiler back.

With all the said, the Browns are now stuck with Osweiler, and the team is reportedly looking to move him. ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini believes the Jets are a team to watch when it comes to the embattled quarterback.

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the AFC…

  • The Patriots and Malcolm Butler “have a difference of opinion” when it comes to the value of a potential contract extension for the cornerback, writes ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss. Reports from last week indicated that the organization hadn’t reached out to Butler’s camp in a while.
  • The Ravens‘ decision to sign free agent running back Danny Woodhead to a three-year deal was not a response to Kenneth Dixon‘s four-game PED suspension, general manager Ozzie Newsome told reporters, Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun. “We’ve known about Kenneth for a long time, but yes, we needed to add another element to our offense, and Danny brings that from the backfield, and we’re still working to try to do some other things at receiver and maybe offensive line,” Newsome said. “But yes, he still would have been a big part of our conversation. We still would have signed him.” Woodhead’s new deal is worth $8.8MM and contains $4.25MM guaranteed.
  • There was a bit of confusion following news that defensive lineman Calais Campbell had joined the Jaguars last week, as subsequent reports said the player was having a change of heart and considering the Broncos. However, Florio notes that there was no agreement in place with Jacksonville when these reports emerged. Ultimately, the player did ultimately join the organization on a four-year, $60MM.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Browns Will Trade Or Cut Brock Osweiler

The Browns are attempting to trade recently-acquired quarterback Brock Osweiler and a fifth-round pick in exchange for a third-round selection, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. If they can’t unload Osweiler via trade, the Browns will simply release him.Brock Osweiler

Cleveland’s move to acquire Osweiler from the Texans was solely about absorbing his cap charge in order to pick up a second-round pick, so it’s not a surprise that he isn’t in the club’s long-term plans. As previous reports have indicated, the Browns are willing to pay as much as half of Osweiler’s $16MM base salary in order to facilitate a trade. To do so, Cleveland would convert a portion of Osweiler’s salary into a signing bonus, and pay that figure before dealing him elsewhere.

Given the Browns’ ample cap space, they could probably negotiate Osweiler’s salary all the way down to $1MM, making the 26-year-old quarterback a much more valuable asset. Either way, other executives are skeptical Cleveland’s plan to flip Osweiler will be successful, as one personnel man told Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com “no one will do their new trade.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Browns, Osweiler, Jets, Eagles

The Browns are reportedly trying to trade Brock Osweiler after acquiring him (and more specifically, his contract) from the Texans yesterday, and while Cleveland might be willing to pay Osweiler’s deal down to $8MM or so, some executives don’t think the Browns will find a taker. “Get the [expletive] out of here,” said one personnel man, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Another evaluator: “No one will do their new trade … but I don’t blame them for trying.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Free agent safety Tony Jefferson reportedly turned down a better proposal from the Browns before signing with the Ravens, and Jefferson himself says Cleveland $1.5MM more than Baltimore, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link), Jefferson claims the Jets offered him the same overage, although Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News disputes that assertion (Twitter link).
  • Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks saw $4.35MM of his $4.85MM 2017 base salary fully guarantee today, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Kendricks has long been the subject of trade rumors, and the base salary guarantee could impact any such discussions. Unlike signing bonus money, which accelerates onto the original team’s cap in the event of a trade, guaranteed base salaries stay with the player and carry over to the acquring club.
  • Both linebacker DeAndre Levy (Lions) and safety Aaron Williams (Bills) were designated as post-June 1 releases, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com and Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Those decisions will save Detroit and Buffalo some cap space the short term, but both teams will see dead money incur on their 2018 books.

Browns Still Eyeing Jimmy Garoppolo

Just because the Browns currently have two polarizing members of the 2012 quarterback class doesn’t mean they’re giving up a pursuit of Jimmy Garoppolo. Cleveland still intends to try and trade for the Patriots’ backup quarterback, league sources tell Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com.Jimmy Garoppolo (Vertical)

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets this remains the Browns’ intention (Twitter link), but Rapoport believes the Patriots want to hang onto Garoppolo. A league source told Cabot a package fronted only by Cleveland’s No. 12 pick this year won’t be enough to land Garoppolo. The Patriots are believed to want the Browns’ No. 1 overall pick, which Cleveland is expected to use to take Myles Garrett.

The Browns, though, have now acquired an extra second-round pick thanks to their unorthodox Brock Osweiler acquisition. Cleveland now has two first-rounders and two second-rounders this year and three second-round selections in 2018. A combination of those would be enough ammunition to get the Patriots to consider trading Garoppolo, in all likelihood.

As for Osweiler, the Browns are shopping him across the league after acquiring the sixth-year quarterback and a second-round pick.

The new-era front office is trying to trade Osweiler and a late-round pick for a 2018 third-round selection, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets. In making these trade inquiries, the Browns are informing teams they are prepared to eat at least half of Osweiler’s $16MM price tag in order to facilitate this trade, per La Canfora (on Twitter). The reporter adds the Browns are “fixated” on a third-round pick, leading many to believe they’re ready to deal a collection of picks to the Patriots for Garoppolo (Twitter link).

The Patriots initially pulled Garoppolo off the trade market but may want either two first-rounders or a first and a second for their longtime backup. Cabot reiterates the Patriots are likely to want a first this year and the Browns’ 2018 first-round selection. New England’s asking price may stem from wanting to make sure it has a backup plan in case a soon-to-be 40-year-old Tom Brady begins to slip despite not showing much evidence of that during his age-39 season.

While expected to take a quarterback in the draft, Cleveland is believed to be ready to release Robert Griffin III.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.