TEX­ANS TRADE OSWEILER TO MAKE ROOM FOR ROMO?

Stun­ning deal gives Tex­ans salary-cap space to seek QB such as Dal­las’ Romo.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Wire ser­vices

The Browns found a fran­chise quar­ter­back, just maybe not their own.

Cleve­land ac­quired vet­eran Brock Osweiler and a 2018 sec­ond-round pick Thurs­day in a stun­ning trade with the Hous­ton Tex­ans, who were look­ing for a part­ner to help them get rid of the QB’s $16 mil­lion guar­an­teed con­tract. Cleve­land and Hous­ton are also swap­ping 2017 fourth- and sixth-round picks.

The deal gives the Browns more as­sets to per­haps trade for a quar­ter­back such as New Eng­land backup Jimmy Garop­polo, and it al­lows the Tex­ans to clear some salary-cap space to make a run at a starter — per­haps Dal­las Cow­boys vet­eran Tony Romo.

Re­ports Wed­nes­day said the Cow­boys were going to re­lease Romo on Thurs­day, but re­ports Thurs­day claimed the Cow­boys could trade Romo, with the Hous­ton Tex­ans and Den­ver Bron­cos be­ing the most likely part­ners. Hous­ton trad­ing Osweiler and his sub­stan­tial con­tract to Cleve­land looks like a step in the di­rec­tion of Romo mov­ing down the I-45, but any­thing is still pos­si­ble at this point.

Amid this storm in the Lone Star State, Romo took the time to post a video to Twit­ter thank­ing fans for all the sup­port they have shown him. Fit­tingly, Romo had Bob Dylan’s clas­sic “The Times They Are A-Changin’” play­ing in the back­ground be­fore his wife makes a cameo at the end.

“Hey ev­ery­one, I just wanted

to come tell you it’s been a crazy 48 hours here,” Romo be­gins. “Me and my fam­ily felt the out­pour­ing of sup­port from all of you. It’s been over­whelm­ing and it doesn’t go un­no­ticed. I want to say thank you and we have a lot to think about going for­ward but we’ll see what hap­pens. Un­til then I’m going to keep lis­ten­ing to Bob Dylan.”

Osweiler’s ex­per­i­ment in Hous­ton was a disaster. He 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.

“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 cas­hand 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.” The 6-foot-7 Osweiler signed with Hous­ton as a free agent last year af­ter four sea­sons in Den­ver.

The Browns, who spent mil­lions on the first day of the free agency sign­ing pe­riod by land­ing for­mer Cincin­nati Ben­gals right guard Kevin Zeitler and giv­ing left guard Joel Bi­to­nio a five-year ex­ten­sion, have been search­ing for a fran­chise QB for more than a decade.

The team has not yet de­cided what it will do with Osweiler, and his ar­rival does not nec­es­sar­ily af­fect any de­ci­sions on Robert Grif­fin III, who is due a ros­ter bonus this week­end.

Osweiler doe s pro­vide the Browns with more am­mu­ni­tion to fi­nally get their messy quar­ter­back sit­u­a­tion cleaned up. It’s pos­si­ble they’ll try to en­tice the Pa­tri­ots to move the 25-year-old Garop­polo.

Cleve­land has two first-round picks — the Nos. 1 and 12 — and two sec­ond-rounders this year, and three sec­ond-round picks in 2018.

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 es­sen­tially paid $16 mil­lion for an­other high draft pick.

“We’re really ex­cited to ac­quire a sec­ond-round draft choice in this trade,” said Sashi Brown, Cleve­land’s ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of foot­ball op­er­a­tions. “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.”

How­ever, it’s pos­si­ble the Browns, who now have 11 picks in this year’ draft, will move Oswei

ler long be­fore he sees a field in Cleve­land.

DUSTIN BRAD­FORD / GETTY IM­AGES

The Brock Osweiler ex­per­i­ment in Hous­ton was a disaster. The quar­ter­back went 8-6 in 14 starts last sea­son. The Tex­ans are in the mar­ket to up­grade the po­si­tion.

TIM WARNER / GETTY IM­AGES

The 6-foot-7 Brock Osweiler signed with Hous­ton as a free agent last year af­ter four sea­sons in Den­ver. Cleve­land, which traded for him Thurs­day, has not yet de­cided what to do with the quar­ter­back.

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