CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns found a franchise quarterback, just maybe not their own.
Cleveland acquired Brock Oswelier and a 2018 second-round pick on Thursday in a stunning trade with the Houston Texans, who were looking for a partner to help them get rid of the QB’s contract.
The deal will give the Browns more assets to perhaps trade for a future quarterback, and it allows the Texans to clear some salary-cap space to make a run at a starter.
The Browns and Texans are also swapping fourth- and sixth-round picks in 2017, said a person with knowledge of the trade, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details were not made public.
Cleveland, which spent millions on the first day of the free agency signing period by landing former Bengals right guard Kevin Zeitler and giving left guard Joel Bitonio a five-year extension, has been searching for a franchise QB for more than a decade. The team has not decided what it will do with Osweiler, said the source, adding his arrival does not necessarily affect any decisions on Robert Griffin III.
Osweiler gives the Browns more options and it’s possible they could use him to entice another team to make a trade.
The Browns have plenty of ammunition to finally get their messy quarterback situation cleaned up. Following a 1-15 season, Cleveland owns the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, the No. 12 spot and six of the first 65 selections.
With nearly $102 million in salary-cap space to start the day, the Browns were in a position to take on Osweiler’s contract and get another high draft pick.
Osweiler went 8-6 in 14 starts for Houston last season. The Texans are in the market to upgrade the position in free agency or through a trade, and there’s a strong chance they’ll take a run at Tony Romo, who is expected to be traded or released by the Dallas Cowboys.
“We are committed to bringing a championship to the city of Houston,” said Texans vice president of football operations Rick Smith. “We are exhaustive in our efforts and the resources provided by the McNair family allow us to operate that way. We continuously evaluate our decisions and processes to ensure the results match our goals and objectives. The decision to trade Brock was made because it was in the best interest of the team.
“It frees up both cash and salary-cap room to continue to improve our football team. We appreciate Brock’s effort and leadership while he was with us and we wish him and his family well.”
By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
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