The Cleveland Browns opened free agency with a record $102 million in cap space, and quickly made a couple of strong signings, addressing their offensive line by adding Kevin Zeitler and J.C. Tretter and giving Joel Bitonio an extension, plus signing veteran receiver Kenny Britt.
Then they made the biggest move of the day, trading for Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler -- a move that left their fans fearing another season with a struggling QB. But when the dust settled, it was clear just what the Browns had netted by taking on Osweiler and his guaranteed $16 million salary for next season.
The Browns received a 2018 second-round pick and swapped a fourth-rounder in this year's draft for Houston's sixth-rounder. And suddenly they're sitting on an absolute arsenal of draft picks: 11 in each of the next two drafts.
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The #Browns draft picks after the Osweiler trade:— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) March 9, 2017
2017: 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6
2018: 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7
Browns now own 8 picks in the just 1st and 2nd rounds alone of the next two @NFL drafts.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) March 10, 2017
First quote from the Browns on the Osweiler trade: "We're really excited to acquire a second round draft choice in this trade."— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 9, 2017
And that's not all. The Browns reportedly are discussing Osweiler trade proposals that could reduce his cost to them:
Breaking News: Browns shopping Osweiler contract all over the league. Want to trade Brock and late rnd pick for '18 3rd rnd pick ...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 9, 2017
Again, Browns shopping Osweiler and late rnd 17, for a 2018 3rd rnd pick and will eat "at least half" of Brock's $16M salary— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 9, 2017
Browns are fixated on the 3rd round pick in 2018, leading many to believe they're out to deal bevy of picks to NE for Jimmy G— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 9, 2017
If the Browns move Osweiler and move on from Robert Griffin III, it remains to be seen whether they'll draft a potential franchise QB or try to pry Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots. Clearly they possess the picks to do it.
My understand of #Browns QB situation: They'll release RGIII. Shop Brock Osweiler and see what comes of it. Likely draft a QB as well.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
Either way, Cleveland's offseason already appears to be infinitely better than its one-win 2016 season.