The Browns and Texans’ historic trade did send a second-round pick to Cleveland, but Brock Osweiler remains on the payroll after the team tried to trade him for more draft picks. This leaves Osweiler in an uncertain place despite the sixth-year quarterback working with the Browns at OTAs. However, one NFL executive believes the team will still find a way to unload Osweiler.
“I think they still will flip him,” the anonymous exec said, via Mike Sando of ESPN.com (Insider link). “I think they are going to pay even more of his salary where he is only, say, a $2MM player, and then they will trade him for something. This is Plan B. Plan A was to take his salary down to $8MM and trade him right away. Plan C is that he is on their team or they just outright cut him. That could very much happen.”
This exec paints a grim portrait of Osweiler’s future in northeast Ohio. The Browns have been impressed with their unique trade acquisition so far, and Osweiler is competing for the starting job with Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer. But Cleveland still was keen on unloading the 26-year-old passer, and taking on plenty of Osweiler’s $16MM salary to do it. The Browns have been unable to do so yet but have more than $60MM in cap space, so a prospective deal wouldn’t be out of the question this year. But one could well depend on a team’s injury situation at quarterback come training camp, along with the portion of the quarterback’s salary the Browns would agree to pay and what kind of draft compensation they now want.
Here’s the latest coming out of the AFC North as minicamps approach.
- In the same Sando piece, an NFL personnel director questioned the Steelers‘ hesitance at trying to keep up with the Patriots this offseason. Perhaps the top AFC challenger to New England, Pittsburgh did not make moves in free agency or on the trade market, calling this anonymous exec to question the franchise’s traditional, build-from-within approach. “Pittsburgh never seems to make the big impact move,” the exec said. “They seem to just keep trying to get guys who fit into their locker room or fit into their scheme. It is almost like they are a little bit of plug-and-play and not really willing to stretch out and put themselves out there.” The Steelers did add wideout weaponry but did so through the draft (second-rounder JuJu Smith-Schuster) and via Martavis Bryant‘s reinstatement. Otherwise, the team is similar to its 2016 edition.
- The costs to keep the trio of Le’Veon Bell, Stephon Tuitt and Alejandro Villanueva could cost the Steelers well north of $100MM collectively, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes. The Pittsburgh-based reporter slots Bell’s deal as the highest priority, Tuitt’s as the player who wouldn’t need to be re-signed right away, and Villanueva as the wild card in this equation in being an ERFA that could hold out after a months-long negotiation. The Steelers have the July 15 franchise tag deadline with Bell but could let Tuitt’s talks slip into August, Fowler notes. The fourth-year defensive end is under contract at $1.47MM for 2017 before his rookie deal expires. Tuitt wants to stay in Pittsburgh but will be a costly cog to retain. The Steelers possess $16.3MM in cap space.
- The Ravens are shifting to a more power-based run scheme under new offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Edward Lee. Baltimore used zone principles under Juan Castillo, who is now working as the Bills’ O-line coach.