Browns trade former third-round pick Cody Kessler to Jaguars for late-round draft pick

The Browns continue to rearrange their crowded quarterback room.

After trading for Tyrod Taylortrading away DeShone Kizer, and signing Drew Stantonthe Browns shipped former third-round pick Cody Kessler to the Jaguars in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2019, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported on Wednesday. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported the trade and the team later confirmed the trade.

Kessler, taken 93rd overall out of USC in 2016, started eight games (all in his rookie year) and appeared in 12 total games for the Browns. He completed 63.8 percent of his passes, averaged 6.9 yards per attempt, threw six touchdowns and three interceptions, and accumulated an 87.4 passer rating. Those aren't horrible numbers considering he was viewed as a developmental prospect and he played on an awful Browns team. 

Don't hold his 0-8 record as a starter against him. After all, the Browns have gone 1-31 over the past two seasons.

In Jacksonville, Kessler figures to slot in behind the starter, Blake Bortles, who signed a contract extension earlier this offseason after yet another uneven season. Chad Henne, the Jaguars' long-time backup, landed with the Chiefs in free agency. So, the Jaguars needed a new QB2 while the Browns didn't have a need for Kessler considering they already have a starter in Taylor and will presumably use the top-overall pick in this year's draft on their future franchise quarterback. The Browns still have Taylor, Drew Stanton, and Kevin Hogan on their roster.

The biggest winner in all of this seems like Kessler. He not only gets a promotion (he probably would've been a QB3 at best in Cleveland), he also gets to be a backup to a quarterback who has struggled enough throughout his career that it's really not too difficult to envision a scenario that sees Bortles get benched. If Kessler does step in as the Jaguars' starter next season -- whether that's due to Bortles' quality of play or an injury -- he'll be in a much better situation than he was in Cleveland. In Jacksonville, Kessler will have the opportunity to play in a run-first offense that can afford to be conservative because of the Jaguars' dominant defense. Even if Kessler doesn't get any meaningful reps, he'll still be a backup on a playoff-caliber team that has its sights set on the Super Bowl. That alone is huge upgrade for Kessler.

If we have to crown a loser of this minor trade, it's gotta be Browns coach Hue Jackson, who passionately defended the selection of Kessler back in 2016. Most notably, Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott was still available when the Browns took Kessler. 

"You have to trust me on this one," Jackson said at the time, via Cleveland.com. 

"The guy has had a tremendous career," Jackson also said. "I understand where everyone's coming from. But Cody Kessler is the guy for us."

On Wednesday, after only two seasons to work with him, Jackson said goodbye to his guy.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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