CLEVELAND — No longer part of the Browns’ plans, Cody Kessler got passed to a new team.
Cleveland traded its former starting quarterback to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday, the latest move for the Browns who have spent the offseason upgrading the team’s most troublesome position following a 0-16 season.
In exchange for Kessler, the Browns will receive a conditional 2019 seventh-round draft pick from the Jaguars, who were in the market to find a backup for starter Blake Bortles.
The 24-year-old Kessler had been in a steady slide down Cleveland’s depth chart after starting eight games as a rookie in 2016. But after the team acquired Tyrod Taylor from Buffalo, dealt DeShone Kizer to Green Bay and with the Browns expected to take a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, there was no room for Kessler.
Last season, he entered training camp as the Browns’ starter but soon fell behind Kizer and Brock Osweiler and wound up being inactive for 10 games. He appeared in three games, completing 11 passes for 126 yards and was sacked six times.
Kessler’s tenure with the Browns began in mild controversy.
After the team passed on taking several other quarterbacks in the 2016 draft, Cleveland’s selection of Kessler in the third round drew criticism. Coach Hue Jackson tried to deflect the harsh assessments of Kessler by saying, “Trust me” about the former Southern Cal standout.
Kessler wasn’t expected to get on the field as a rookie, but after injuries sidelined Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown, he was thrust into action long before he was probably ready.
Kessler showed toughness and some potential by passing for 1,380 yards and six TDs. But he was sacked 21 times and it didn’t help that the Browns lacked playmakers to help him during a 1-15 season.
Jacksonville represents a fresh start for the likable Kessler.
“We are excited about the opportunity to add Cody as depth to our quarterback position,” said Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell. “Despite being just 24 years old, Cody has already seen NFL game action and was very effective as a rookie in 2016, showing accuracy and efficiency in posting a quarterback rating of 90-plus.
“From our research and through getting to know Cody during the draft process, we know he is a smart, tough and competitive young man and we expect him to be a great addition to our quarterback and offensive meeting rooms.”
AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville contributed to this report.