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Brock Osweiler won't play in Browns-Bucs game

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Cleveland's regular-season dress rehearsal won't include a part for Brock Osweiler.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday that the veteran quarterback won't see the field when the Browns face the Buccaneers on Saturday night, per a source informed of team's plans.

It's a decision that clicks on multiple levels. With rookie DeShone Kizer named as the game's starter, Cleveland is wise to keep Osweiler out of the fray. If Kizer struggles mightily, you'd still have Osweiler healthy for the season opener against Pittsburgh.

The Browns, though, have another reason to keep the veteran out of harm's way. Pelissero tweeted that Cleveland's front office "continued to make calls about trading Brock Osweiler before and after start of training camp," per sources, and are "keeping [their] options open."

As Pelissero noted, when the Browns acquired Osweiler from the Texans in March -- a trade made simply to acquire Houston's 2018 second-round pick -- they immediately attempted to trade the quarterback and even offered to pay half of Osweiler's gaudy $16 million salary.

Good luck getting a bag of spoons for Osweiler after what we've seen during two messy preseason starts, but his value could grow if another team loses a starting passer -- or even a trusty backup. If Andrew Luck remains tucked away in Indianapolis, would Osweiler be seen as a better option than hyper-shaky Scott Tolzien?

A third option boils down to the Browns simply releasing the quarterback, but not before all trade routes have completely dried up.

On Wednesday, Osweiler said he had "absolutely no regrets" over how he handled the quarterback derby, saying of the race: "As far as I know, it's still wide open."

The looming variable here is Kizer. If the second-rounder shines against the Bucs -- and if the team believes he can start right away -- then Osweiler suddenly finds himself in a fight for the backup job with Cody Kessler, a quarterback hand-picked by coach Hue Jackson.

The Browns haven't had a quarterback play a full season since 2001, a 15-year streak that serves as an NFL record and another ugly reminder of the club's utter lack of consistency under center since the turn of the century.

This quarterback room remains one of the league's thinnest creations, held back by Osweiler's shoddy play, yet infused with hope over the possibility of Kizer becoming something to lean on.

We have a long way to go before the Browns can make that claim about any of their quarterbacks.

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