Are the Browns idiots or geniuses for buying a second-round pick for $16 million?

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The Browns took a step far outside the box on Thursday, buying a second-round draft pick for $16 million. Many have praised their daring. Some have questioned their sanity.

As one league insider noted, the team’s ongoing quest to stockpile picks keeps the front office and coaching staff from ever being fully evaluated regarding how the picks are used, and how the players are developed. At any given time, they’ll have a stockpile of future picks that never will be a pile of present problems that stick to the front office or the coaching staff.

Also, it’s hard to put a price on a pick that will come from a range of 32 possible selections. If the Texans stink this year, the Browns bought pick No. 33 for $16 million. If the Texans win the Super Bowl, the Browns bought pick No. 64 for $16 million. That’s a huge range to attach one fixed price; however, chances are that the Texans will be picking closer to 64 than 33.

Those concerns apply regardless of how the locker room will react to the idea of giving $16 million to a guy who may never take a snap with the team. For the players who are working hard for far less money, how will the idea that a stranger to the team got $16 million to remain a stranger to the team be received?

It’s a bold move for the Browns. And who knows whether it will ever pay off? Especially if the Browns end up throwing the Houston second-round pick into a package that will possibly be used to get Jimmy Garoppolo.

69 responses to “Are the Browns idiots or geniuses for buying a second-round pick for $16 million?

  1. I think its too much.

    Lets say they draft a good player with that pick.
    They will pay him 2.5MM over 5 years.
    Lets say his per year worth, if he was a free agent, is 5MM/year. They are getting (5*4) = 20MM off value for 2.5MM, or a surplus value of 17.5MM.
    Thats more than the 16MM they ow Osweiller.

    But what are the odds of drafting such a player? They are just as likely to draft a dud or a player worth what he’s paid (600K/year) so the surplus value is 0 or negative.

    I think for 16MM they needed another draft pick, like a 2nd this year, and a 4th next year.

  2. Time will tell. But yes it is creative and I hope the Browns succeed. The franchise deserves some good fortune for a change.

  3. Why wouldn’t the Patriots let the Browns bid against themselves with first rounders for their backup QB who’s played two games?

  4. If they trade osweiler for a third and eat 8 mill of it, then it looks a lot better. Look, as a browns fan, our team purposely put a pile of garbage on the field, with 70 some mill in cap space and we still sold out every game. This is a small price to pay to help put an extra quality player on the field in the future, or a quarterback.

  5. It’s a genius move but their ability to draft talent will determine the success of this FO. It’s too early to tell but will drafting 2 pro bowlers while using 3 times as many picks be viewed in a good light or not?

  6. I know this is about Cleveland, but I have to wonder if this isn’t also do or die time for Bill O’Brien in Houston.

    Popular opinion has always been that the Texans were just a good to great QB away from contending. Now we get to find out.

    His offense clicked when they had a running game, but it wasn’t a dominant offense. Last I checked, they still have Lamar Miller.

    Point being, this pick may in fact be closer to 33 than 64.

  7. If the Patriots would’ve done it, you’d be praising them.

    They had a bunch of cap room that they were more than likely not going to use so they turned into a second rounder next year and a few other picks. We laugh at the Browns when they do silly stuff, so lets give them some credit when they something savvy.

  8. “If they trade osweiler for a third and eat 8 mill of it, then it looks a lot better. ”

    If. If my aunt had nuts she’d be my uncle.

    no way, never gonna happen.

    I think Cleve got too cute by half, and outsmarted.

  9. The browns don’t need Garoppolo. Matt cassell…Ryan Mallett… both also were supposed to be the next big thing. It’s New England’s team that makes them look good. Matt Flynn is another example. Jimmy has played 3 games. AJ McCarron has s better resume. If you can get him for a reasonable price, okay, but don’t overspend on the guy.

  10. So they will be pretty much paying an extra 16million on top of whatever they end up paying Garapapapalo if they manage to get him….and the Patriots get richer….again.

  11. If the Texans get Romo (and thus have serious shot at Supe 52 provided Romo stays healthy) and are close to 64, then the move is likely dumb. If they Texans don’t get Romo and thus are closer to 33 it is a great move.

    Folks, at some point the Browns will stop being the Browns. Lets hope it is sooner than later (because I can’t stand the Ravens, Steelers, and Bungles!)

  12. jxt2521 says:
    Mar 9, 2017 9:59 PM

    It’s a genius move but their ability to draft talent will determine the success of this FO. It’s too early to tell but will drafting 2 pro bowlers while using 3 times as many picks be viewed in a good light or not?

    They don’t need to draft Pro Bowlers. They need to draft college players who become solid NFL players in what they are asked to do and contribute to a winning team. Fans will always whine about the draft. Everybody is an expert. Drafting is only a small part. How the player develops and able to play with his teammates towards a common goal is more important.

  13. For most teams, this is a gross overspend, but not for the Browns who plan on keeping a young, and extremely inexpensive roster. They kept their 14 drafts picks from last season, they have 12 draft picks this season, and have double digit picks next season. And, they have a surplus of money that they simply won’t be able to spend.

    This is a multi-year rebuild for the Browns. For most any other team, this deal makes no sense, but it’s terrific for the Browns.

  14. It’s smart. Which is why I have advocated (I think you’ve blogged this in the past too) that teams should be able to trade cap space. As long as it’s used, who cares by who.

  15. They’ve got cap space so it’s not entirely crazy. And though this is a rather unusual move in the NFL it’s standard procedure in the NBA. The only thing more NBA would be if they turned around and cut him outright–which some sources claim may happen.

  16. Does it have to be either genius or idiotic? Nope, it can be something in between. It’s definitely bold.

    Hopefully, this is a small step in the right direction for the Browns. Their diehards deserve some damn success.

  17. intrafinesse says:
    Mar 9, 2017 9:54 PM

    I think its too much.

    Lets say they draft a good player with that pick.
    They will pay him 2.5MM over 5 years.
    Lets say his per year worth, if he was a free agent, is 5MM/year. They are getting (5*4) = 20MM off value for 2.5MM, or a surplus value of 17.5MM.
    Thats more than the 16MM they ow Osweiller.

    But what are the odds of drafting such a player? They are just as likely to draft a dud or a player worth what he’s paid (600K/year) so the surplus value is 0 or negative.

    I think for 16MM they needed another draft pick, like a 2nd this year, and a 4th next year.

    They want the pick so they can have more ammo to trade for JG. All your guessing about value is just swagging.

  18. It was a creative way to pick up a valuable pick. I don’t understand cutting osweiller tho. If you can trade him, trade him, but cutting him and paying him the $16M anyway instead of giving him a shot to be better than any of the crap they currently have on the roster for that same $16M doesn’t seem logical. At least give him through training camp and the pre-season to see if he can win the starters job.

  19. There is the possibility that the Browns may have had to spend some of this money anyway to get up to the floor. They may trade him and get a team to pick up some portion of the contract. They also are getting about 7.5 million in cap space by dumping RG III. The pick may also be used as part of a package for Garopolo. That all being said, it will take some time to play out. The only way they get hurt is on cash, but circumstances could shrink that 16 million dollar blow quite considerably.

  20. IF the Browns get Garappolo and IF he turns out to be as good as people think he is, the Browns will look like geniuses. First, Garappolo’s salary for this year is $820,000. Chicken feed! So, even if they keep Osweiler for a year, they have $17M committed to qb for this season. That is low by today’s standards. If Garappolo decides to play hardball, the Browns can pull a Kirk Cousins on him for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Either way, they get a quality starting qb for 3 years. And, as one fan noted above, the Browns will likely get something for Osweiler. His contract has offset language. So, say they cut him and somebody signs him as a backup for $3m, then Cleveland is out of pocket $14 million for qb for the season. Garappolo won’t get much of it, but Cleveland will have their three year starter at a very reasonable price. Well, played Brownies.

  21. It is a brilliant move with limited downside given the team’s cap situation. They have cash, they need picks…they traded cash and a pick for picks. That alone is brilliant.

    Assume they simply cut Osweiller and draft someone new with the pick:

    Let’s say there is a 50% chance the pick is stud/bust and Brock chooses to retire if you release him (unlikely, but I’m setting up just about the worst case for CLE)

    A 2nd rd pick will earn something like $1.3M/yr for 4 years (assume they’re a bust and you don’t pick up the 5th year & assume HOU picks #1 overall, which is highly unlikely) so a total of $5.2M guaranteed for the 4 years. Plus the $16M hit for Brock for a total of $21.2M over 4 years. There is a 50% chance player busts out, so the only way to do the math is assume all those amounts applied to 2 years. $10.6M/yr for a starter wouldn’t be absurd for many positions on the field. If the draft pick hits then $22.5/5 = $4.5M/yr for a 5 year starter – any team in the NFL would pay this for any player. Any offset for Brock playing this year makes the math even better for CLE. Let’s say Brock gets picked up at $10M guaranteed for 2 years as a backup…CLE is on the hook for $6M. There isn’t an NFL GM alive who wouldn’t trade $6M for a 2nd round pick.

    When you start considering the cap situation and permutations related to Brock being signed by someone else it quickly looks pretty amazing for CLE.

  22. The Texans got an albatross off their books and Cleveland scored an extra draft pick in a talent-rich draft. They have tons of draft picks, but the key will be good talent evaluation. They could either become the Dallas Cowboys of the early 1990’s or they could wallow in mediocrity like the Rams of the 2010’s, who traded a bunch of picks to Washington and then squandering them.

  23. haslamdrinkshisownpee says:
    Mar 9, 2017 9:59 PM
    If they trade osweiler for a third and eat 8 mill of it, then it looks a lot better. Look, as a browns fan, our team purposely put a pile of garbage on the field, with 70 some mill in cap space and we still sold out every game. This is a small price to pay to help put an extra quality player on the field in the future, or a quarterback.

    ______

    I mean, that is true. But if there was a trade available where the team eats half the salary, and gets an extra 3rd round pick, why would Houston of paid the Browns to take him in the first place? They’d of just made that deal and called it a day

    If they are willing to play chicken, and possibly pay for a guy they don’t really want, they could get lucky in the pre-season, and another guy could go down and leave a team with a gaping need (like Philly with Bradford last year). But if they do that, they are taking the chance that doesn’t happen, and they just have to pay him

    Outside of that? A 3rd for him seems like an extremely long shot. The market on him is set, I’m not sure that eating 8 mil would make a team willing to go from getting a 2nd for taking him, to giving a 3rd for getting him. Especially when most team would probably figure they can just wait them out until they release him, and sign him at 1/4 that, since the Browns are going to pay him 16 mil anyway

  24. “If the Texans get Romo (and thus have serious shot at Supe 52 provided Romo stays healthy) and are close to 64, then the move is likely dumb.” -somethinghappeninghere

    I agree in theory. But the size of that “if” is bigger than the size of Texas. Romo will not play 16 games, wherever he lands.

  25. The Browns had $100m of salary cap room, and there are only so many worthwhile players available and spots on a roster. One thing to keep in mind when evaluating this move.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that if they trade Osweiler or cut him and he gets picked up by another team, whatever the other team pays him comes off Cleveland’s cap. So if they find a trading partner willing to pay $4-6M, that lowers what they paid for that pick to $10-12M.

    Again, with a $100M to play with, does that sound like a lot for a second round pick?

  26. Depends on how they use their second round pick… there is obvious upside and obvious downside….They could also use that pick to trade up in the draft, or for somone they covet (Garropollo).

    Everyone likes to try to grade a trade the moment it happens, but it often takes much more time to see how things unfold. It will take 2-3 years to determine if this was a Great good or bad move by Cleveland.

  27. If Garapalo was that good, the Pats would not be trading him. They would even keep him over Brady.

    Think that’s crazy? It has happened several times before. The 49ers cut Montana to go with Young and the Packers cut Favre to go with Rodgers.

    If that Pats thought Garapalo was a real franchise QB, there’s no way they’d trade him with Brady only have a season on 2 left.

  28. I say restructure his contract to convert 8 mil of this yrs salary to a signing bonus and then flip him to the jets for a 2019 2nd rd pick.
    now you converted 8 mil into 2 2nd rd picks.
    that’s good business.
    IT will help PAY my PATS for JIMMY G

  29. There is no logical or financial sense for what the Browns did in trading for Brock Osweiler, Brock is a train wreck but this brain-trust is paying him a huge salary not to play. A second round pick is not worth $16MM. The pay scale for the first round picks 8 – 14 are 4 years $16.38MM – $14.45MM. It just doesn’t add up! Even if you were going to go after Jimmy Garoppolo the Browns have two first round and two second round pick this year and next to go after Jimmy Garoppolo. They won’t pay Pryor but they throw away money of fail QB that the Texans didn’t want and that no one will trade for. DAM!!!!!

    8) Cleveland Browns: $16.38 million
    9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $16.26 million
    10) New York Giants: $15.62 million
    11) Chicago Bears: $14.45 million

  30. The idea in general is fine. But, I think the price tag was too high, especially if they end up cutting Osweiler for nothing in return. If they can trade him and dump half the salary, it isn’t too bad. If they can’t trade him, they should keep him, as he isn’t any worse than anyone they rolled out last season.

    If the second round pick would have been this season instead of next, I think that would have made it a better deal as well.

  31. I just looked at overthecap.com. Houston had to absorb all of the dead money. Cleveland is carrying a $16M cap charge. If they cut him, they take a $16M hit. If they trade him, they take NO hit against the salary cap. I have no idea what the cap rules are if the Browns agree to pay part of his 2017 salary as part of any trade agreement. So, this will be very interesting.

  32. The biggest reason the Browns continue to lose every year is because their team has too many rookies. They always have like 10-12 picks in each draft, and those rookies are pretty much guaranteed a roster spot. So when you only have 53 roster spots, who’s getting cut? The 10-12 players that they drafted just a few years ago. They need to draft less people and give those players time to develop. Quit stockpiling picks! Go spend that cap space on immediate-impact players. Enough rebuilding!

  33. jjb0811 says:
    As a Skins fan, I’m glad the Browns are around to help wipe away my tears.
    —-
    Not a fan of either team, but at this point in time I like where the Browns are going a hell of a lot more than where the Redskins are going.

  34. That picture at the top of the article rocks. No doubt, if that guy had been making the picks, this team would have selected Clay Matthews Jr. instead of Brian Robiskie. He probably would have taken Derek Carr over JFF too.

  35. They got more than a second and if they parlay him into another pick via trade then they win. They need talent and cheap talent by draft is great. Good for them. Anyways, if folks think that Houston is a Qb away from the super bowl, they need help too.

  36. I still think Osweiler is going to end up being a good QB. He’s had 21 NFL starts, three head coaches, and 3 or 4 different offensive coordinators.

  37. r502 says:
    Mar 9, 2017 11:14 PM
    Trade Brock for a 7th and you will have picked up a 2nd and a 7th for doing nothing but paperwork
    //////////////////////////////////
    They also got a 6th paired with the 2nd. So in your theory, a 2nd, 6th, and a 7th.

  38. Normally I’d say something like:
    “Who can tell? These things are tricky.”

    But the Browns’ modern track record
    compels me to lean towards “crazy move.”

  39. If I were Jimmy G, I would not sign a long term deal with Cleveland even if I were traded to Cleveland. It is a nutty organization that has no future hope of making the playoffs.

  40. They’re idiot savants:
    Savants for effectively buying an extra 2nd rounder. Idiots bc they’ll
    botch the pick

  41. Its worth noting that most of the current locker room also are filler in waiting for the theoretical good players who will replace them, so how the trade there plays does not matter much.

    It is also worth noting that while Osweiler is massively overpaid, he isn’t really worse than what they have at QB should they keep him.

    And they need all the picks they can get.

    But the interesting part of this type of deal is the impact of the ability to roll over cap space from year to year.

    In hockey and basketball, teams have used this approach (taking on a contract for a pick or prospect) before, but those caps are year to year.

    The cap room the Browns blow on Osweiler is not only money that can’t be spent elsewhere next year, it is money that can’t be rolled over for when they eventually will need it.

    This is likely why the price (2nd round) was so high even though so many teams have a lot of space. Everyone can use their space eventually, so the Browns ARE giving up some room they could eventually have used.

  42. The Browns have failed for decades doing things the standard way. They are trying new, innovative (for the NFL) ways of improving. They have tons of cap space and tons of desperate needs, and they are making big moves trying to improve. I give them credit for thinking outside the box in an industry that resists this kind of thinking.

  43. Osweiler is an upgrade over the QBs on their present roster. The chance of them to draft a 2nd Dak Prescott is slim to none. So they are going to eat the $16M, and cut Osweiler? The Brown FO are a bunch of geniuses!!!

  44. Here’s the thing: They don’t actually have to pay Osweiller a dime. If they like him, they can keep him, pay him $16 million, and be comfortably under the cap.

    However, they can also cut him and not have to be in salary cap distress that usually comes with cutting players on huge contracts. His signing bonus money will stay on the Texans’ books (which is why Houston wouldn’t want to cut him). Only future salary and roster bonuses are accounted to the Browns. So if they cut him before his next bonus is due, or before any triggers making his 2016 salary fully guaranteed, he is off their books entirely. And even if those triggers are met, there is likely offset language in the contract, allowing them to only pay out what another team doesn’t pay. It wouldn’t be a huge payday, but it could wipe out some of that $. Meaning they traded a 4th rounder for a 2nd and 6th rounder.

  45. hgammatt, that is incorrect

    Signing bonus stays with trading team just as with cutting team (and accelerates).

    The issue for Osweiler is his 16 million base salary THIS YEAR is fully guaranteed.

    They can keep him or cut him, but either way they pay him and use the cap room.

  46. nevyn49, That’s not quite correct either. In his contract there is an clause that if they cut him then it’s same as a trade that Browns will make up the difference in his new contract and the $16M. So if someone signed him for $8M then Browns would pay him the other $8M.

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