Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown on Thursday outlined Cleveland's thinking behind a blockbuster trade with Philadelphia, saying the move positions the team to lay a foundation for future success.
"We were tempted to stay on the clock," Brown said, "but we felt like the offer to move back just six spots for the picks that we were able to acquire was just a better bet."
With eight days until the NFL Draft, the Browns and Eagles agreed Wednesday to exchange first-round picks — No. 2 for No. 8 — and other selections this year and coming years.
And for the Browns, who are committed to shaping their roster through the draft, it was more or less too good of a deal to pass up.
"With this trade, we've positioned ourselves to having a really strong nucleus of young talent come on to roster the next year or two or three," Brown said.
Brown — who added he won't rule out another trade up or down from No. 8 — called the decision a thorough and thought-out process involving many discussions between himself, first-year coach Hue Jackson, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry and owner Jimmy Haslam.
"We kind of put all the information on the table and got through some healthy discussions — not easy decisions obviously to move out of No. 2 with some talented quarterbacks potentially being at that spot for us to take — but we felt like this was the better bet and there was a consensus and agreement in that decision," Brown said.
Brown said Cleveland's front office had extensive conversations with Eagles GM Howie Roseman over the last few weeks and came to the conclusion the trade was a "very fair" deal, adding Cleveland finds the No. 8 pick "particularly valuable" considering the depth of talent in the first round.
Brown also dismissed speculation that the trade meant the Browns believe neither California's Jared Goff nor North Dakota State's Carson Wentz were worthy of being the organization's franchise quarterback and reiterated finding a signal-caller -- be it through the draft or with someone already on the roster -- remains a goal.
"I think that could certainly be the implication, that's not necessarily the driver of the decision. We think Wentz and Goff at this point are pretty consensus one and two in terms of the quarterbacks. There's some other talented quarterbacks in the draft as well, but this shouldn't be interpreted as an indictment at all on their potential to be good starting quarterbacks in this league," Brown said.
"As always, there's a risk in this league when you're drafting any quarterback even if you're drafting a quarterback in the second slot of the first round that they pan out or don't and we understand that risk that we may have passed on our quarterback that's going to go on and certainly go on have a great career in this league.
"But we felt like for the other additional picks that were we'll acquire," Brown continued, "we're in a much better position to build our roster moving forward."
Indeed, the Browns now have 12 picks — including six of the top 100 picks — in this year's draft and own the Eagles' first-round pick in 2017 in addition to a second-round pick in 2018. In exchange, Cleveland conditionally surrendered a 2017 fourth-round pick to Philadelphia.
Brown said the trade between the Titans and Rams, in which Tennessee dealt the No. 1 overall pick to Los Angeles last week, didn't play much of a factor in Wednesday's decision.
"We did receive calls earlier than the Rams and the Titans finalized their deal. So it was something that was on other teams' minds and ours pretty early on," he said. "We worked a pretty extensive process to understand the players that'll be available to us at No. 2 and other positions that we could have potentially moved back to."
Added Brown: "Whenever we have an opportunity to have very valuable draft capital — not only a lot — but very valuable draft capital — an extra one and an extra two in the next years — we like that positioning and as I've said we have a plan, we're going to stick to it. We're confident we'll produce results."