The Cleveland Browns, after naming rookie DeShone Kizer as the starting quarterback for their third preseason game, have renewed their attempt to trade veteran Brock Osweiler, a league source tells ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Browns coach Hue Jackson named Kizer as the starter for Saturday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a statement released Wednesday morning, saying the former Notre Dame signal-caller is “certainly positioning himself well to earn the starting job heading into the regular season.”
“I think he’s gotten better each and every week,” Jackson said later Wednesday. “He’s showing the characteristics that I look for in a quarterback.”
Osweiler, who is due a guaranteed salary of $16 million for 2017, is not expected to play Saturday, Jackson confirmed.
Asked whether he would ask for a trade, Osweiler told ESPN, “That’s something I’m going to stay away from.”
Asked what would have to happen for him to win the job, his response was, “I think that’s a great question for our general manager.”
When asked about Osweiler’s reference to GM Sashi Brown, Jackson said, “It’s my decision. I don’t know where that came from.”
Jackson said he had a “great conversation” with Osweiler on Wednesday morning, and that the quarterback “is doing a good job.
“No one has said to Brock, ‘Brock you might not play here’ or ‘you wouldn’t be the quarterback here,'” Jackson said. “That’s not what was said. Just to be clear about that.”
The Browns acquired Osweiler in March as a throw-in on a deal that sent Houston’s second round draft pick in 2018 to Cleveland. The Browns listened to trade offers then, but they kept Osweiler after not finding a deal they liked.
Kizer said the opportunity to start Saturday night in Tampa Bay was “awesome.”
“Now it’s about whatever I can do to go out there and compete and have the success I’ve had the last couple games,” Kizer said.
Osweiler played four series and two quarters in the Browns’ first two preseason games. The first-team offense — with some offensive line backups — did not score any points in his five possessions. Osweiler completed 12 of 22 passes for 67 yards, 3 yards per attempt.
Kizer, meanwhile, went 19-for-31 for 258 yards with one touchdown and five sacks in two games. The second-round pick from Notre Dame guided nine drives and scored 23 points, all the points coming against backup defenders.
“[Kizer] has made a lot of progress by investing the time necessary to learn our offense, working hard to improve on his fundamentals while also effectively moving the offense in preseason games,” Jackson said in a statement released by the team. “Development is so important for a young quarterback, this is the next step he needs to take and he deserves this opportunity.
“We are very excited about seeing DeShone in the role of starter for this week, as he is certainly positioning himself well to earn the starting job heading into the regular season.”
“As awesome as it is, it just means I have to try to work harder,” Kizer said.
Osweiler said he had no regrets about how he approached the Browns position.
“They know the quarterback and the teammate that I am,” Osweiler said.
In other moves, the Browns placed linebacker Tank Carder (knee) and offensive lineman Matt McCants (ankle) on injured reserve and waived defensive back Justin Currie (ankle) with an injury designation.
Carder, who was competing for a starting role and had started both preseason games, suffered a torn ACL in the first quarter of Monday’s game against the Giants and will need season-ending surgery.