After it was reported that they were out of the race, the Cleveland Browns come out of no where to trade for Deshaun Watson and sign him to a new contract.
In a truly shocking turn of events, the Cleveland Browns seemingly came back from the dead to land controversial quarterback, Deshaun Watson, in a monster trade with the Houston Texans. The team also plan to sign Watson to a new contract that will give him the most guaranteed money in NFL history.
Just yesterday, it appeared that the Deshaun Watson race was down to just two suitors: the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints. It made sense that the Houston Texans would prefer to send the star quarterback to a different conference, and the southern location and indoor stadiums seemed to suit what Watson was looking for.
Today, things have clearly changed, as Deshaun Watson agreed to waive his no-trade clause for the Cleveland Browns, who are set to give up three consecutive first-round picks, a third-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-round pick in 2024 in exchange for Watson and a 2024 fifth-rounder.
In addition, the Cleveland Browns plan to lock up their new gunslinger with a new five-year, $230 million contract that is fully guaranteed. That is the most guaranteed money given to any player in NFL history.
The Cleveland Browns had a chance to select Deshaun Watson in the 2017 NFL Draft, but instead traded down with the Houston Texans and ended up netting Jabril Peppers and Denzel Ward in the deal. Now, with Ward still on the roster (as no players are allegedly involved in the new trade), things come full circle with Watson ultimately finding a home in Cleveland.
There are certainly some concerning circumstances surrounding the newly acquired Deshaun Watson, with 22 civil cases of sexual assault still pending, despite no indictment from a grand jury in his legal case.
With these pending charges could come a pending suspension, but that seems to be something that the Cleveland Browns will deal with if and when that happens. The front office seemed to be hell-bent on upgrading, the quarterback position this offseason, and the make the big splash they were looking for by landing Deshaun Watson.
Not everyone in Cleveland will be excited with the move that the Browns decided to make, given the extremely serious actions that Deshaun Watson is charged with. Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, general manager Andrew Berry, and head coach Kevin Stefanski are likely all on the same page with this “all-in to win now” approach, despite the baggage that comes along with it.
After voicing his frustrations in recent days, incumbent starter, Baker Mayfield, will likely have his trade request accommodated. The Cleveland Browns will likely move on from their former first overall selection in the coming days, recouping some of the draft capital they gave up to land Deshaun Watson.
The move will certainly have mixed reviews across the landscape of the NFL and Northeast Ohio. It will not be popular with everyone, deciding to put football ahead of morals, in some people’s opinions. However, there is no doubt that the Cleveland Browns are a better football team with Deshaun Watson under center, and have decided to make him the face of their franchise moving forward.