The Browns needed a quarterback, and they technically got one when the Houston Texans worked out a deal to send Brock Osweiler to Cleveland. But Osweiler wasn’t very good in Houston last year, and nobody expects him to actually start for the Browns.
The Browns aren’t going to start Osweiler next season, and the Texans have happily moved on from him. That didn’t keep reporters from asking an overwhelming number of questions about the signal caller.
Responses about Osweiler ranged from true to marginally truthful to bold-faced lies.
1. Sashi Brown says the Browns didn’t just want that second-round pick
"I wouldn't characterize it that way and I can understand how it would be interpreted that way,’’ Brown said via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “But for us, it was about finding another young quarterback but also making sure that the conversation that came along with it made sense for us. So it's the package of the player and the pick.’’
Immediately after the Osweiler trade, Brown made it clear what the priority was in the transaction.
“We’re really excited to acquire a second-round draft choice in this trade,” Brown said.
2. Hue Jackson thinks the Browns can make something out of Brock Osweiler
“And I'm not saying that we can't make something out of Brock Osweiler,” Jackson said Tuesday at the owners meetings. “Maybe we can.”
Jackson has a solid track record with developing quarterbacks, but Osweiler averaged fewer than 200 passing yards per game last season. He’s entering his sixth NFL season, and it seems like a wild stretch to expect that the Browns can turn him into a viable starter.
Maybe it’s not fair to call this a lie, because Andy Dalton had the best season of his career with Jackson as his offensive coordinator, but it’s overly optimistic at minimum.
Rating: Alternative fact
3. Browns may or may not keep Osweiler, according to Jimmy Haslam
This is generally true, but by default, because Haslam left the team’s options wide open. Haslam didn’t say whether waiving Osweiler was a possibility, but with the amount of cap space Cleveland has, maybe that one just went unspoken.
It’s not that easy to just trade Osweiler, as the Browns surely know by now. They started shopping the quarterback almost immediately after acquiring him. Cleveland may have to bear some of his guaranteed $16 million salary for this season as part of that agreement.
Cutting Osweiler would leave the Browns on the hook for his entire salary this year, but the Browns do have over $64 million in cap space right now. They could manage it.
Rating: Not entirely false
4. Texans owner Bob McNair was surprised by the Osweiler trade
"It was a shocker to me," McNair said Monday via the Houston Chronicle. "It was unbelievable."
On its face, this statement may seem like an obvious lie. The Texans won eight games last season with Osweiler behind center, but almost in spite of Osweiler’s play. Osweiler finished the season with 15 passing touchdowns and 16 interceptions, and his quarterback rating of 72.2 was one of the lowest in the NFL.
But McNair wasn’t shocked that the Texans decided to move on from Osweiler. He was surprised that general manager Rick Smith was able to pull off the trade. We’ll accept that.
McNair also said not meeting with Osweiler before signing him was the reason the quarterback didn’t work out in Houston.
"We didn't know Brock well enough," McNair said. "Coach didn't have a chance to get to know him. That's one of the problems with free agency."
That may be, but Osweiler has been the same quarterback throughout his career. We’re not buying that part, Bob.
Rating: A shred of truth
5. Bill O’Brien tells it like it is about Osweiler
The Texans head coach didn’t mince words about his former quarterback.
"Look, again like I've said, we've moved on to 2017,” O’Brien said Tuesday. “We wish Brock the best. He worked hard for us. In the end, we try to look at our team and do what's best for our team.”
While the Texans are still dealing with uncertainty at the quarterback position, moving on from Osweiler was best for the team. O’Brien was easily the most truthful about Osweiler this week.