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Houston-Cleveland hot potato deal is indeed permitted

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Thursday’s trade that saw the Texans unload Brock Osweiler’s contract onto the Browns and also give Cleveland a net gain in draft picks caused some to question whether an NBA-style deal of this type was permitted in the NFL.

It definitely was, and is. A league spokesman tells PFT that the deal was approved without adjustment or limitation on Thursday.

Whether other teams engage in such blatant hot-potato swaps moving forward remains to be seen. Criticism among folks in the football community has been mounting not due to the process but due to the decision of Cleveland to pay $16 million and a low fourth-round pick in 2017 for what likely will be a low second-round pick in 2018 and a low sixth-round pick in 2017. For what the Browns are gaining in draft equity, the thinking is they’re paying too much in cash and cap space.

Possibly overlooked when considering the analytics aspects of football are the human dynamics. What are the players thinking (and saying among themselves via group text) about the Browns giving $16 million to a guy who will never play for the team but failing to find a way to keep Terrelle Pryor, who’ll make half of that this year in Washington?

Ultimately, football teams need 11 guys at a time who will embrace the chaos that comes from trying to perform against 11 guys with directly conflicting agendas. The players need to be all in, all the time. As the NFL crosses into this new frontier of paying guys not to play for the team twice a much as it would have taken to keep a guy who wanted to be there, it will be important to factor those intangible-yet-critical realities into the overall assessment of the success or failure of the move.

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27 Responses to “Houston-Cleveland hot potato deal is indeed permitted”
  1. coloradofort says: Mar 10, 2017 4:35 PM

    But wait a minute……Bill Polian said it wasn’t…….

  2. bucrightoff says: Mar 10, 2017 4:38 PM

    Teams should be allowed to trade cap space for picks or players.

  3. blitzinc43 says: Mar 10, 2017 4:40 PM

    As a close friend of the organization Brock should work on his 3 & D and Tebow his way into the NBA

  4. cadreamer1969 says: Mar 10, 2017 4:42 PM

    Great deal all around. Brock gets paid, Hou gives Cleveland a 2nd round pick in 2018 and has 9 million of dead cap for Brock. Cleveland has a 16 million cap hit for Brock but it’s offset by about half that amount in cutting RG III. Since, the Browns only have backup quality QBs on their roster, Brock fits in.

  5. np1985 says: Mar 10, 2017 4:45 PM

    Second time with this take. What are the players thinking when the team goes 1-15?!?

  6. cadreamer1969 says: Mar 10, 2017 4:46 PM

    Pryor was asking for 12 million a year and had to settle for a prove it 1 year contract with Wash.

  7. tim8450 says: Mar 10, 2017 4:48 PM

    Unless the Patriots do it; in that case, they would change the rule to outlaw it.

  8. cowboysmb3dw28 says: Mar 10, 2017 4:48 PM

    I don’t think the players are going to be too concerned about the trade while on the field. I know it’s fashionable to rip the Browns as they’ve been so bad for so long, but they got a 2nd round draft pick in the deal. They had more cap space than a team could know what to do with, and if they can trade Brock they won’t even take on the full $16 mil.

  9. Moudabo says: Mar 10, 2017 4:51 PM

    Degrading the game by allowing such dubious trades.

  10. wte1 says: Mar 10, 2017 4:58 PM

    Brilliant trade. I just want to know who thought of it first, Houston or Cleveland?

  11. maestro1899 says: Mar 10, 2017 5:00 PM

    “For what the Browns are gaining in draft equity, the thinking is they’re paying too much in cash and cap space.”

    Wrong.

    First, it’s a one-year deal and the Browns have $100M plus in 2017. They aren’t going to spend all $100M this offseason, and his deal will be off the books next year. So it doesn’t affect their spending or salary cap next year, and it is very, very unlikely that it will hinder their FA spending this year.

    Another important point that is getting much media play: Teams have a salary cap FLOOR, and Cleveland is was struggling to get there. So instead of blowing money on overpriced second-tier free agents that probably would be on multi-year deals and affect their cap next year, they get a one-year bump in their 2017 salary cap as they attempt to get to the NFL salary cap FLOOR and still maintain salary cap flexibility going forward.

    Oh, not to mention they get a 2nd round pick next year. They will need it if they have to move up to draft their true QB-of-the-future.

  12. jlinatl says: Mar 10, 2017 5:01 PM

    Won’t the Browns save the offset of whatever another team pays him if he is traded or waived?

    So, they will be out some money but likely not $16 million and they could pick up another draft pick. I get some people don’t like it but we don’t even know what the full compensation is yet.

    No matter what, it’s not as bad as drafting a player that is in jail or taking Tim Couch.

  13. jag1959 says: Mar 10, 2017 5:01 PM

    What are the players thinking (and saying among themselves via group text) about the Browns giving $16 million to a guy who will never play for the team but failing to find a way to keep Terrelle Pryor, who’ll make half of that this year in Washington?
    _____________________

    If there is any truth to the current Pryor article here on PFT that he was offered a multi year deal at @ $8M per the players will probably think the same thing any else that read it will. Since he couldn’t get serious WR money with a one year resume Pryor opted to do a prove it deal with a team that has a starting QB that is essentially on a tag driven prove it deal for whom he will be the primary weapon.

  14. maestro1899 says: Mar 10, 2017 5:07 PM

    Moudabo says:
    Mar 10, 2017 4:51 PM
    Degrading the game by allowing such dubious trades.
    – – – – –

    There is truth to this.

    In the NBA, only about 4 teams have a realistic chance to win the championship and only a handful of other teams that are even considered “pretty good”. Two-thirds of the league is garbage and doing this purposely so they can be in a position to sign a big money FA (except they all decide to team up with other superstars) and have more ping pong balls in the NBA Draft Lottery.

    Because of this, “salary dumps” happen all of the time. Do we really want the NFL becoming like this, where only a 20% of the teams are worth watching and the rest are tanking for salary cap space and extra draft picks?

    Good move for the Browns; bad move for the NFL. Hopefully it’s not a sign of things to come…

  15. campcouch says: Mar 10, 2017 5:07 PM

    Methinks we hold Pryor in overblown regard.

  16. ricko1112 says: Mar 10, 2017 5:07 PM

    If the Patriots had done it, there would be outrage and cries of “Cheating!”

    Now when the Browns send this year’s #12 pick, that 2nd round pick next year, and a 3rd rounder next year, this type of deal will immediately be banned.

  17. purpleguy says: Mar 10, 2017 5:09 PM

    Wait, isn’t there off-set language in these contracts, so if Osweiler is released and signs with another team, the charge to the Browns and corresponding cap hit decreases proportionately? So, in the end this probably won’t be a $16M cap hit unless the guy signs in the CFL.

  18. poison66 says: Mar 10, 2017 5:19 PM

    The Brownies once again make 1 of the stupidest trades ever. Your spending $16 million for a 2nd round draft pick, then your spending another 10-16 million to sign the player. What an idiotic move, only from these clowns/ errr Browns

  19. twoteamsforlosangeles says: Mar 10, 2017 5:26 PM

    Well, Cleveland does play at Houston this year….that’s must see TV….Not!

  20. mackcarrington says: Mar 10, 2017 5:36 PM

    Florio, do you really think that players are going to have resentment over someone who isn’t even on the team? If Osweiler is released, no one is going to be thinking about him. They’re going to be focused on keeping their own jobs.

  21. bannedfromchoirpractice says: Mar 10, 2017 5:42 PM

    Osweiller will look funny in a wig when he turns into an alcoholic and winds up at a blackjack table in Vegas in between games.

  22. pj1983a says: Mar 10, 2017 6:03 PM

    What will the players think? The players will think that the Browns traded one asset (cap space) for another asset (draft picks) in an attempt to make the team better. And they’ll be glad to know the front office is using creative ways to make the team more competitive. The NFL is a business and the players know that better than anyone. This was a savvy business move. Nothing more.

  23. cardinealsfan20 says: Mar 10, 2017 6:05 PM

    “In the NBA, only about 4 teams have a realistic chance to win the championship and only a handful of other teams are considered “pretty good”.”

    How is this any different from the NFL, MLB, college football, or any other sport? What teams other than NE, Pittsburgh, GB, Atlanta, and Dallas had a realistic chance to win the Super Bowl in 2016?

    If your team isn’t a contender you should be begging them to tank. 8-8 accomplishes nothing.

  24. charger383 says: Mar 10, 2017 8:46 PM

    just another part of salary cap football

  25. joeinoh says: Mar 10, 2017 10:29 PM

    QB/WR. Apples/oranges.

  26. breadmeatcheese says: Mar 10, 2017 10:33 PM

    he has won in the playoffs, is not a great player, but still may make a decent back up.

    imho, releasing him isn’t automatic.

  27. chronsy says: Mar 11, 2017 7:15 AM

    #theydidthemath

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