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4:06 PM ET

  • Adam SchefterESPN Senior Writer Close
    • ESPN NFL Insider
    • Joined ESPN in 2009
    • Former president of the Pro Football Writers of America and the author of four books

The Texans are trading quarterback Brock Osweiler and a 2018 second-round pick to Cleveland, which will take Osweiler's $16 million guaranteed salary off of Houston's books, league sources tell ESPN's Adam Schefter.

While Osweiler is technically coming to Cleveland in the deal, league sources tell ESPN's Pat McManamon that the team is not acquiring him to be its quarterback. The move clears millions in salary-cap space for Houston to intensify its efforts to sign Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, sources said.

Romo is expected to be traded by the Cowboys.

To be exact, Houston will save $16 million in cash and $10 million against their cap this season.

The Texans also will get the Browns' fourth-round pick this year in exchange for their own sixth-round pick. So Cleveland gets Osweiler's contract, a 2018 second-round pick and a 2017 sixth-round pick, and Houston gets Cleveland's 2017 fourth-round pick, saves $10 million in salary-cap space and $16 million in cash.

Cleveland is not committed to keeping Osweiler, 26, and is likely to try to trade him, sources said. If that happens, the deal would turn into a basketball-like trade in which NBA teams routinely trade contracts to get them off their books. That kind of move rarely happens in the NFL.

It's hard to remember another time in the salary-cap era when a team traded a contract to get it off its books. But Houston was so eager to rid itself of Osweiler and turn the page to its next quarterbacking chapter that it is giving Cleveland extra picks to take him and his contract.

The Browns headed into this free-agent signing period with more than $100 million worth of salary-cap space and would struggle to spend it all. Now they can devote some of it to Osweiler's contract and acquiring extra draft picks from Houston.

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