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The Osweiler Trade

Maybe I’ve just been burned too many times by Cleveland Browns hope … but I just can’t get all that excited about the Browns’ clever (and expensive) little maneuver to trade for super-bust Brock Osweiler in order to add another draft choice to their growing arsenal of draft picks. Best I can tell, Cleveland now has 495* high draft picks the next two years, and this presumably is good. I’m just not quite ready to build statues to Executive Vice President Sashi Brown and Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta.

*Looking a bit more closely, it’s not quite 495 high picks. They have two firsts, two seconds and a third this year, one first, three seconds and a third next year.

The Browns have been hoarding high picks the last few years with three basic strategies.

1. Stinking.

2. Trading down from their stink-infused high draft spots.

3. Spending millions of dollars on the NFL’s all-time bust.

It is the third strategy that many people seem to be glorifying today. A year ago exactly, without even meeting with the guy, Houston gave Brock Osweiler a $72 million deal, $37 million of it guaranteed over the first two years. The deal was SO WRETCHED that barely three months ago, Mike Florio wrote that NOBODY would be trading for that stink bomb of a contract.

And then the Browns came up with their now-celebrated plan to trade for Osweiler. The Browns are $100 million under the salary cap (this is possible because of their extraordinary lack of talent) and they aren’t going anywhere next year anyway. So they decided that they could afford to take on Osweiler’s contract and free up Houston from its ghastly mistake. All it would cost the Texans is a second round pick.

In other words, the Browns agreed to pay up to $16 million — depending on what they can shave off of that deal — for a second-round pick.

The Texans jumped at this opportunity, which more or less sums up the howling stupidity of that deal just one year ago. Everyone kind of knew the deal was ludicrous when they made it. But to throw a second-round pick to Cleveland just to get rid of a guy you moved heaven and earth to get a few months ago, well, that’s legendary stuff.

So did the Browns outsmart the world by making this deal? A lot of people are lining up to say yes, to praise their shrewdness, to call the Browns the Moneyball NFL team, but I’m not so sure. First of all, the obvious must be said: The Browns have no belief whatsoever in Osweiler. None. He was merely a tool to get Cleveland that second-round pick. If you have any doubt of this whatsoever, you can look at the Browns press release — and the first quote from Sashi Brown.

“We’re really excited to acquire a second-round draft choice in this trade,” he 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.”

Draft pick first. Competition at every position second.

And even this, apparently, was a bit disingenuous because almost immediately after the trade people started reporting that the Browns are going to cut Osweiler. He’s apparently so bad that the Browns would rather release him than bring him to camp, even though their quarterback set right now is Robert Griffin III, who has thrown six touchdown passes and nine interceptions the last three seasons and Cody Kessler.

So, this was a pure draft pick purchase. As a fan, I don’t mind — it’s not my money. But let’s not overlook the simple fact that the Browns just traded for a hugely expensive player they KNOW stinks. That hardly seems like a plan for getting better.

For years now the Browns have been making all these super-smart moves to collect future draft picks. Great. At some point, though, they actually have to use those draft picks to, um, get good football players. And, sorry, until they do that I’m just not sure how anyone can get excited about any of this.

Look, the Browns had the second pick in the draft last year. Joey Bosa, who ended up with 10 1/2 sacks and, by Pro Football Focus, graded out as the fifth-best defensive end in the NFL was there to be taken — and he WENT TO OHIO STATE, which is just down the road Ezekiel Elliot, who ran for more than 1,600 yards and was the second-rated running back in the NFL was there to be taken — and he ALSO WENT TO OHIO STATE, which is just down the road.

Quarterback Carson Wentz, who got off to a hot start and had a solid rookie season, was there. Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin, a player who ended up having a superb season, was there.

The Browns traded down. They did this to get more draft picks. OK. But they ended up drafting wide receiver Corey Coleman, who was hurt and had the dropsies and rated as PFF’s 100th best wide receiver, the second best named Coleman behind New Orleans’ Brandon Coleman.

Later, they took Emmanuel Ogbah, a classic 4-3 edge pass rusher, then put him in a 3-4 defense and watched him get utterly run over all year.

Later, on a hunch, they drafted Cody Kessler. Another quarterback named Dak Prescott was still on the board.

Yes, teams make mistakes in the draft all the time. But that’s ALL the Browns have done for years. In 2015, they had two first-round picks. One was defensive tackle Danny Shelton, who did show some promise last year after a trying rookie season. The other was Cameron Erving, whose sad story probably doesn’t need to be told again.

And in 2014, they had two first round picks. The first was spent on Justin Gilbert; the Browns dumped him for a sixth round pick as soon as they could. The second was spent on Johnny Manziel … no more needs to be said about that.

And in 2013, the Browns had the sixth overall pick in the draft … which they spent on Barkevious Mingo, a player the Browns dumped for a fifth-round pick as soon as they could.

So, forgive me for not throwing the Super Bowl parade just yet. The Browns did sign veteran offensive linemen Kevin Zeitler and Joel Bitonio to long-term deals, and that’s actually exciting. The Browns look like they have the makings of a good offensive line, something that they should have achieved a long time ago since legendary Joe Thomas has been manning left tackle for years now. These are moves to applaud because there are real players attached to them.

But the acquiring of more high draft picks? Sure, it could work. Maybe even it should work. But I think about a wonderful exchange from The Office between Dwight and Stanley. Dwight had invented the concept of Schrute bucks, fake dollar bills used to buy things like five extra minutes for lunch. Stanley was not impressed.

DWIGHT: “Don’t you want to earn Schrute bucks?”

STANLEY: “No. In fact, I’ll give you a billion Stanley nickels if you’ll never talk to me again.”

DWIGHT: “What is the ratio of Stanley nickels to Schrute bucks?”

STANLEY: “The same as the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns.”

As of this moment, Browns’ draft picks — even high ones — are Schrute bucks. Maybe they’re unicorns. Maybe they’re leprechauns. They Browns have spent an extraordinary amount of time and effort and money to position themselves to cash in on the draft. But until they actually do cash in, until they use those picks to get a few good players — either through the draft or trades — I’ll hold off on planning the Super Bowl parade.







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55 Responses to The Osweiler Trade

  1. Zach says:

    Feels a bit disingenuous to use draft picks made under previous regimes as reasons why this current one won’t be able to draft well. Granted, just having a lot of draft picks does not a great team make, but frankly, this is the best strategy for a team as talent-starved as the Browns to take.

    • DB says:

      Last year’s draft was all Brown and DePodesta so that is on them (too early to call if they can actually scout talent but neither of their backgrounds screams we know talent). So they have a strategy and maybe it is a good one. Stockpile lower picks and trade down if necessary (or to get more value). Basically the Bill (and the other Bill before him and Jimmy in there as well) so this is not a new process.


      However, now you have three choices/processes (not sure how to describe it) when you use this strategy. 1. Have really good talent scouts/evaluators (or get lucky) that can get find the diamonds out in the rough for cheaper and build that way. 2. Think that some many choices means you will hit on a few and lose on a few and it is all a matter of numbers. 3. Have a coach who takes even the not so good and makes them better.


      We have seen people win with 2 and 3 combined (I do not think the Patriots are all that good at scouting itself but could be wrong but this is Bill). We have seen people win with 1 and 2 combined (Jimmy did this with the Cowboys). I just do not think you can win with number 2 alone and then hope for luck. So until they can show ability to scout talent or coach up talent, they are just the Sixers. Stockpiling talent without any direction. The Celtics realized this and got Stevens. Jackson does not appear to be Stevens. I am just guessing we will have 3 to 4 more years of the Browns loading up on young new “talent” and then going no where and starting again.

      • jackiel says:

        The Pats aren’t good at scouting?! They routinely find undervalued players that fit their system. Examples: Shifty slot receivers that are more agile than the bigger defensive backs who cover them – Edelman, Welker, Amendola, and now Cooks. Productive RBs who can catch and pass block – White, Lewis, Faulk, and Woodhead. RBs who excel at the rules of football (the bigger, more powerful guy typically wins in short yardage situations) – Blount who was unwanted by every other team in the league. Rangy LBs who can cover and rush the passer – Mayo, Collins, Hightower, Bruschi, etc.

        • DB says:

          Meant in the draft (most of the people you listed came from other team specially on offense). There is a big difference in scouting college players and seeing if they can make the transition versus seeing what the player can do on the big stage and then getting value. We are talking about the Browns and their strategy in the draft. Maybe because they are drafting at the bottom always (and are trading down a lot too) but I do not usually see the Patriots as winning the draft and they have had their share of busts. Maybe that is part of Bill’s strategy too, he might not even see the draft as that important in itself when he can trade his stockpile of lower picks and steal guys like Cooks.

          • jackiel says:

            That’s just not true. Of that partial list, over 1/2 were drafted by the Pats. They usually have a lot of homegrown starters on both sides of the ball. Furthermore, guys like Woodhead, Lewis, and Welker hadn’t shown much on the professional level when the Pats acquired them.

            Anyone who says that a well-run NFL team believes that the draft isn’t important is deeply mistaken. Every team has their share of busts – that’s how the draft works. They key is whether they hit often enough to be competitive. The Pats are good at all 3 processes.

            Incidentally, I agree with you about your Browns’ assessment. They’re not close and won’t be for another few years.

    • Largebill says:

      Agree. Fans still upset with previous regimes want to dump all over new regime each time for not immediately succeeding. It’s crazy. Give these guys time. We keep blowing it up without giving management team opportunity to learn from failures.

      • jackiel says:

        I disagree. A regime has to be able to evaluate talent regardless of the length of its tenure. Reflexively trading out of the top of the first round to acquire more picks is a dumb idea when you have opportunities to draft players who have the ability to be truly transformative talents. There’s a reason why most Hall of Famers are drafted in the 1st round. A team that gives up the right to take players like Bosa, Elliott, Conklin, and Stanley who all projected to be very good immediately with a real chance to be great in order to stockpile picks is mistaking the forest for the trees IMO. The whole point is to acquire Pro Bowlers. If you have a guy sitting there who is more than likely than not to become one, then you should just take him.

  2. invitro says:

    I don’t know much about football, but I do know baseball needs more players with names like Barkevious Mingo, Brock Osweiler, and Emmanuel Ogbah. (P.S. Mingo’s has a brother named Hughtavious Mingo. Glorovious!)

  3. Marco says:

    Worth noting:

    1. It’s not just the pick for $16M. Osweiler has value and I don’t think you can just hand waive it away. We live in a world where Mike Glennon is getting $15M/yr. Teams regularly pay backups $5-7M, if that’t all he is. But…

    2. …Osweiler has upside. Yes, he sucked last year. Yes, Houston overpaid him. But there were other teams lined up to pay him close to what they did. There is talent there.

    So, I’d think of it as $16M for a 2nd rounder and a 1 year deal + two team options for a once promising QB who had a bad year.

    If I’m the Browns, I play him. Worst case scenario, he sucks for a bad team in a lost year and they cut him at the end. But, there are other scenarios where he’s good and develops some trade value, or he’s good and they decide to go with him for another year while they rebuild.

    • Rob Smith says:

      I agree. Osweiler was good for Denver. That implies that in the right system, with the right talent (a problem with the Browns) he has the potential to be decent. So since the Browns seem to be solidifying their offensive line, if they can get some decent pass catchers, maybe it could work. In any case, even if he’s terrible, they lose the $16M for the year and then cut him. I’d give it a shot. It’s not like they’re going to make the playoffs next year.

    • Tim says:

      I agree with Marco, too. Osweiler’s value may not be 50% of $16 mil, but it could be 20-40%, as a backup for the Browns or elsewhere (i.e. some salvage value for more trading).

      Let’s say that the Browns are hot for Garappolo, and think he is worth, say $15 mil for this next season. If they need to ship a bunch of 2017 and 2018 picks to the Patriots to get him, they will only need to pay him $1 million in 2017, and if he has a good first 4-8 games, then they can do the big contract. But for 2017, they’ve got a $15 mil QB for $1 mil–if that is fair value for Jimmy G.

      Who knows for sure? We’ve seen Cassel, Hoyer and Mallett flop elsewhere. But none of them played as well in 6 quarters, and the only other available QBs who have lately are much older.

  4. Dan says:

    Perfect office reference.

    Draft busts are everywhere and happen to every team, so maybe it does make sense to collect additional draft picks, if only to increase your odds of success. As Joel says, Trust the Process!

  5. Rob says:

    Couldn’t disagree more. Draft picks are lottery picks -plain and simple. You can spend as much money scouting as you want, but in the end all players have dramatically higher chances of being a bust than of being a stud. The percentages are skewed a bit to players in the higher rounds, but even top ten picks have high bust potential. So, as the Pats have figured out – get more lottery tickets. In this case, we ended up with a relatively useful lottery ticket in exchange for basically nothing. The cap hit is meaningless to the team, as we’re not coming close to the 100mil this year anyway, and the 16 mil in cash only “hurts” Haslam (although this is even debatable – Yes, it eats into his profits this year, but if it contributes to improving the product for years to come, he’ll be laughing at the measly amount it cost him. He’s a good businessman – and I think one of the best owners in pro sports – but time will tell I that one… and I digress). High draft picks are even more valuable in football than any other sport, as they can be used to trade for known commodities when the time is right. That’s why the league put rules in place to prevent owners from purchasing draft picks, and why Brown/Podesta et al we’re very clever to pull this off.

    • Mr Fresh says:

      “and I think one of the best owners in pro sports ”

      Really?!?! Based on what? I’m willing to stay patient.. but he’s nowhere near the top any list of best owners.

  6. kehnn13 says:

    I don’t think the money is really an issue- with the cap as high as it has gotten, isn’t it possible (even likely) that the Browns would just be paying that money to the NFLPA because they didn’t hit the floor anyway?

    • Bryan says:
      Couldn’t find a recent article with a quick search but last year they were on pace to meet the floor requirements according to SB Nation. The money would be paid to it’s own players with distribution determined by the NFLPA, not paid to the NFLPA.
      The reason the trade could be vetoed by the NFL is that the most likely reason for the trade is that Bob McNair is 80 and wants to spend to his money to win a championship and is likely covering part or all of Osweiler’s contract and Jimmy “Pilot Flying J” Haslam is the kind of guy likely to accept money under the table if you call him up and say you want Osweiler offically off the books so you can sign Romo.

      • Rob Smith says:

        In a league where you lose draft picks and get large fines for pumping fake noise into a stadium, circumventing the salary cap with under the table money is a huge risk. A stupid risk. Get caught and you probably get a long suspension, a fine and lose draft picks. I could see it played out to the point where Haslam would have to sell the team. I don’t see anyone taking that type of risk. That’s not just playing into the gray, like the Patriots are prone to do, that’s WAY into the black.

      • kehnn13 says:

        In regards to the floor, it is a 4 year window and it starts over this year. A team as far under the cap as the Browns are may find some value in using money like this if they aren’t ready to spend it on actual players…

  7. Vidor says:

    “Wretched”, not “retched”

  8. Darrel says:

    What I think is promising about the Browns recent run of decision making is that it seems to recognize that the roster as constructed was not conducive to developing a young QB. People have been crushing the Browns for not drafting Carson Wentz when it had the chance. If you look at that roster though what chance was there that a talented, but raw, QB could come in and not get David Carr’d.
    I would argue, and it appears Browns brass agrees, that this off-season should be dedicated to fixing the guts of the roster. That process has begun through free agency on offense and I would expect a defense heavy draft. If we assume reasonable success at both of those things then next years draft should be where the QB of the future is picked.
    2018 appears to be a much better QB draft and while the Browns should be better this season I would still expect a top 10 pick. The combination of a high pick, cap space, and all the other draft capital they have should allow them to move up to get the QB they want and have enough pieces in place to give the rookie QB a chance to succeed. It must be painful to be a Browns fan and know that 2018 or 2019 is when you can next expect to compete but I like that the front office recognized the hole the franchise was in and is following a reasoned out plan to climb out of it.

    • Crazy Diamond says:

      “Fixing the guts of the roster” ? If they cared about that, then why let Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz leave last year? Can you imagine a line with Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, Alex Mack, Kevin Zeitler, and Mitchell Schwartz? That’s a super solid line, even with Thomas and Mack aging a bit.

      • Rob Smith says:

        They didn’t let Mack go. He was an unrestricted free agent. So unless they franchise tagged him, which nobody does for a center, he was gone. He got an open market contract with a team that was in desperate need for a center & would be competitive with that piece in place. Mack was more valuable to the Falcons than any other team. Their centers couldn’t even snap the ball to Matt Ryan, which made his turnovers look bad, even though the center caused most of them. Anyway, Mack’s contract was up and he was leaving. If the Browns wanted to keep him, they’d have had to be a better team and willing to pay full price +. It wasn’t the Browns choice.

        • Crazy Diamond says:

          If they wanted to sign Mack long-term, they almost certainly could have done so. If nothing else, they could’ve used the Franchise Tag on him. I agree that it’s rarely used on a Center, but it’s not as if the Browns were short on $$$. They almost ALWAYS have tons of cap-room, meaning they could’ve paid him more than the Falcons. Same with Terrell Pryor, who just signed with Washington. Why on Earth didn’t the Browns Franchise Pryor when they had the money to do so? It’s insane. But it’s the Browns being the Browns and there’s a reason why they suck every year.

  9. Dan says:

    The Browns have cap space and they weren’t going anywhere next year anyways. Get draft picks (and who knows, maybe a QB), and all it costs you is money that’s just burning a hole in your pocket anyways? I call that a good deal.

  10. DjangoZ says:

    Draft picks in the hands of someone who is not good at evaluating talent have very little value, that’s true. But I think you should give the new folks at the top a chance. I’m betting they’re going to create a good football team in about 2-3 years and you’re going to be grateful.

    • kehnn13 says:

      Especially after the fiasco that has been the analytics-driven 76ers over the past 5 years or so (complete with tanking every year, drafting 1st round picks who play the same position, etc), I can understand why Joe might be a little bit cynical…

  11. Rob Smith says:

    I can tell you that drafting from year to year can be very up and down. The Falcons drafted really well a few years back and parlayed it into the NFC Championship game & almost the Super Bowl a few years ago. Then, because of some poor drafts, they slipped back into being a bad team for a couple of years. This past year they really had a great draft and were starting a lot of rookies. They also had two key free agent pickups and made some nice pickups of some scrap pieces (i.e. Taylor Gabriel). They already had a QB and Julio Jones, so with that draft and the other pickups they went from a mediocre team to the Super Bowl. Cleveland doesn’t have a QB or Julio Jones (partially because they traded the pick to the Falcons that they used to pick him). So, a great draft and, best case, they get to 6 or 7 wins. But you can do a lot in one really good draft. Having extra picks makes it possible to miss on a couple and still do well.

  12. Crazy Diamond says:

    Joe – does this remind you of when the DBacks sold Touki Toussaint to the Braves? The Braves gave them journeyman infielder Phil Gosselin and absorbed the hefty contract of Bronson Arroyo in exchange for getting a very solid prospect in Toussaint. Imagine the 2nd Round Pick being Toussaint in this scenario – a lottery ticket at this point.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Sort of. The Browns didn’t give up anything except money to a pick and Osweiler. The Braves did give up Gosselin, who was at best, a journeyman. And, of course, they got a top prospect, in Toussaint, as well as Arroyo, who they released. So, it’s close, I guess. Maybe the one difference is that there was nobody thinking the D-Backs got a good deal. Everyone thought the Braves fleeced them. It remains to be seen what Toussaint will do, since in baseball the ramp up time is much longer. But worst case, the Braves didn’t give up anything.

  13. Ross H. says:

    When a track record that bad, wouldn’t they be better off just literally dismantling their scouting team and draft based on what Mel Kiper and others say their boards are?

    • Dan says:

      As a matter of fact they sort of have, or so I gather. Not dismantled it, but at least changed the emphasis in player evaluation, from scouting to analytics.

  14. Rob Smith says:

    Reports are that the Browns are about to release RG3. So, my guess is that the Browns are picking a QB in the first round. Osweiler is probably the opening day starter until whoever they draft is ready. That’s my read on it. I don’t think they’re going to pick up or trade for another QB like Garappolo.

    • Tim says:

      RS: I agree. If the Patriots ask too much, the Browns should walk away. They’ve got a Top 30 QB on their roster. Too bad he’s getting paid like a Top 10.

      • Tim says:

        Correction, paid like a Top 20.

        • Rob Smith says:

          Look, anyone who starts even one NFL game has talent. Often, I think the coaching, the talent on the team, and especially the offensive line & the offensive system fit has more to do with success than anything else. Who knows what Tom Brady would have been if he was the #1 overall going to some terrible team with bad coaching and a bad O-Line. Maybe he never gets past his first contract. So, if Hue Jackson is the smart offensive coach he’s supposed to be and adjusts to whoever his QB is, and they fill in the holes around him, Osweiler could be OK… or Garappolo for that matter. When I look at Cam Newton, obviously a huge talent, the Panthers never tried to make him something he wasn’t. They just lined him up in the shotgun, like he was used to doing, and didn’t require him to make a lot of complex reads. Two reads, then take off and run. Obviously as he gains experience, they add to the complexity, but the system was tailored for Newton. Is Hue Jackson smart enough to do that for whoever ends up as his QB? Or does he just damn the torpedoes and run his system regardless.

          A lot has been made of Shanahan’s success last year, but his first season was close to a disaster with the Falcons. His system is highly complex and Matt Ryan had some difficulties… and they had a few holes in the offensive line and at receiver. But Shanahan and Ryan supposedly hashed out their differences in the off season & modified so that both were comfortable. Most notably Shanahan let Ryan do a little more no-huddle (which Ryan excels at & inexplicably Shanahan didn’t want to do at all), and also simplified some of the calls. So it ended up working. But Shanahan’s system isn’t for everyone, and he’s going to SF to run HIS system. I don’t think he can be successful with most QBs in the league right now. He asks a lot of the QB and more than most can give. And, I think he knows it. That’s why he’s pursuing QBs, like Kirk Cousins, that he feels can run what he wants to run.

      • MikeN says:

        If the Browns were smart, they would pay what the Patriots ask. The guy is Top 10 QB. Only problem is I think he would be better suited to a team with a weak offensive line.

  15. Marc Schneider says:

    What I wonder is with all the money the teams spend on scouting and forth, how could anyone think Osweiler was any good? He played and won a few games with Denver and people were raving but it didn’t seem like he played all that well except that he was turning the ball over less than Peyton Manning. I understand Houston was desperate for a QB, but, my god, giving that much money to Osweiler? Talk about winning the lottery-that’s what Osweiler did. One day he’s going to be telling his friends about how he snookered teams into thinking he could play.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Osweiler’s 2015 ranking had him somewhere in the Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Bradford, Blake Bortles range. He was also in the range of Jameis Winston. So, I’m sure the thinking was that he was young, like Winston, and would improve, whereas veterans like Bradford and Fitzpatrick were what they were. They certainly had more snaps to look at than there is from Jimmy Garappolo. Osweiler threw 275 passes in 2015. Garappolo threw 63 passes last year. I think we all know that teams are desperate to find a franchise QB, and the draft is no gimme either. But aren’t teams that take a shot better than those that don’t? At least they’re trying.

    • Richie says:

      The thing is; what other options did the Texans have? They were drafting too low to get one of the good prospects. Their QB the previous season threw 4 interceptions in a home playoff loss.

      I’m sure they understood that Osweiler was not a sure thing. But they thought he could at least be decent. And maybe he’d improve. He was the best option they had.

      Unfortunately, he was probably worse than they could have imagined (though he did get them a playoff win – mainly due to the Raiders having to rely on Connor Cook.)

  16. Crazy Diamond says:

    …and my fellow Broncos fans (303!) are laughing about this one now, lol. Osweiler chased the money to Houston and then gets traded to the worst team in the league. Way to go, Brock, you really showed Denver. Ha. (And spare me the whole “at least the Texans got to the playoffs, unlike the Broncos” nonsense. With Houston’s D, Brock’s mother could’ve been their QB and still gotten them to the playoffs.)

    • Marc Schneider says:

      Your comment suggests something else. Denver won the Super Bowl with a powerful defense and little offense and an over-the-hill Peyton Manning. Houston got to the playoffs without a decent QB. Maybe the new way to build teams, given the scarcity and expense of finding a top QB will be to build really strong defenses and make due with whatever QB you can find.

      • Crazy Diamond says:

        Fair point. It’s still funny to see Brock get sent to Cleveland. And here’s hoping Cleveland keeps him for a year or two.

      • kehnn13 says:

        That’s been done before- think Ravens back in the 90s. However, in this case, the difference between the Texans and the Broncos was less about the defenses and more about the Texans home in the AFC South.

      • Richie says:

        It’s a tough strategy. Offense is far more consistent on a year-to-year basis. Occasionally a team can hit gold and build a defense so strong it can win a championship, but it doesn’t happen often. And if it works one year, it’s unlikely to do it for any kind of sustained success. You end up with too many players who need new contracts and you can’t keep them all.

        The 2002 Bucs and 2015 Broncos failed to make the playoffs the following season. The 2000 Ravens followed up with a wildcard birth and first round victory before losing in the divisional round. Two years after winning the Super Bowl, both the Ravens and Bucs had losing records.

        • invitro says:

          It’s pretty gutsy of you to be wearing that Marino jersey around here.

          • DB says:

            What you got against Marino?

          • invitro says:

            Oh, I don’t have anything against Marino… but I think Joe can’t stand the guy.

          • invitro says:

            Here’s the blurb I was thinking of, from a Joe article on a golf thingy in 2014. “Can’t stand” is probably too much. Let’s just say I’m just joking around.

            ‘THERE IS ONE fun little twist to the John Daly pro-am story. On the fourth or fifth hole, can’t remember which, one of the people in John Daly’s pro-am group started getting kind of ticked off that Daly was ignoring him and talking to this stupid reporter. That person: Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino.

            “Hey!” Marino yelled at me. “Some of us paid money to play with John Daly.”

            In retrospect, I can’t blame the guy. He did pay money to play with Daly. But I was young then, still unaccustomed to getting yelled at by athletes, especially great ones, and I looked around for a hole to crawl into. In that moment John Daly turned to Dan Marino and did something I will never forget.

            “Hey Dan,” he said. “You ARE playing with me.” And he turned back to tell me another story.’


          • DB says:

            Got it. I never read the golf stuff. I bought his golf book to support this site and to say thanks for it. I could see Dan saying that. Was more of a David Woodley guy myself.

  17. MikeN says:

    The Browns gave back a fourth rounder, to stay within the league rules against buying draft picks.

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