For the second time in two months, the Cleveland Browns made a trade with the Houston Texans that netted them assets in return.
On Thursday, moments before using their second pick of the first round of the NFL Draft, the Browns dealt their No. 12 pick to the Texans for Houston’s 25th overall pick and a 2018 first-round pick. The Texans used the 12th pick to draft Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
This comes after the Texans traded Brock Osweiler to the Browns in March in a salary dump, throwing in a 2017 sixth-round pick and 2018 second-round pick for the Browns’ 2017 fourth-round pick.
The draft-day trade may not be too big of a price for the Texans, especially if Watson proves to be a solid starter. And for the Browns, despite still not finding a solution at quarterback (Osweiler does not appear to be it), they may have set themselves up perfectly for the future.
During the draft on Thursday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Browns were trying to trade for Kirk Cousins. This comes after months of speculation that the Browns may try to land the Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade.
As a result of their wheeling-and-dealing over the past two years, the Browns now have 12 picks in the 2018 draft, including five in the first two rounds.
Browns now own 12 picks in next year's draft… including two firsts, three seconds and two fourths.
— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) April 28, 2017
There’s no guarantee the Browns will use any of those picks in a trade. But if they want to acquire a talented, established quarterback, rather than drafting one in a class most agreed was not that great, then they have the means to do so.
Of course, for a team with needs at almost every position, perhaps it’s best to stockpile those picks and acquire young, cheap talent to develop. However, quarterback remains the position that’s completely alluded the Browns in recent years.
Cleveland can now afford to trade for a proven starting quarterback – and still have pieces to build through the draft.