Browns eyeing Deshaun Watson, but should a move be considered?
By Randy Gurzi
There are reports surfacing that the Cleveland Browns are ‘doing their homework’ on Deshaun Watson, but is he the right fit for this franchise?
Big news came down on Friday as it was reported that Deshaun Watson would not face criminal charges after several sexual misconduct allegations. Watson was emotional once the news came out and now, there’s a real chance that he could finally be traded by the Houston Texans.
Despite the claims against him, which the NFL is still looking into and could hand down their own punishment, there’s reportedly a lot of interest in adding the former Clemson star. And according to some reports, the Cleveland Browns are one of the teams doing research on Watson.
Of course, “doing their homework” and attempting to make a trade are two very different things — and as of now, research seems to be the only thing linking Cleveland to Watson.
Should Deshaun Watson be on Cleveland’s radar?
The real question, however, is whether or not the Browns should be interested in Deshaun Watson. If the question were only about talent, the answer should be yes.
Watson sat out the entire 2021 season as investigations into the 22 claims took place. When he did play last, which was the 2020 campaign, he lit things up. Watson completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns against just seven picks.
He added another 444 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and for his career has 1,677 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing the ball. He’s a playmaker in every sense of the word and it’s hard to say he wouldn’t be an upgrade over Baker Mayfield — who the front office continues to publicly support. He’s also only 26-years of age, meaning he’s just entering his prime.
Having said all of that, there’s more than just football at stake. Cleveland, or any team that takes a chance on Watson, is going to get a heck of a player, but there will be a PR hit for sure. Watson might not have faced criminal charges but he still had a whole lot of allegations come out and the league could still suspend him as they did with Ezekiel Elliott back in 2017 despite the Dallas Cowboys running back not facing criminal charges.
Would Deshaun Watson want to join Cleveland?
Another question is whether or not the Browns would be able to convince Watson to join them. He does have a no-trade clause in his contract and if there are several suitors, he could say no to teams he doesn’t want to join ‚— and the Browns did suffer a bit of a black eye in 2021 with all the complaining making its way from the locker room to the media.
Of course, that happens when teams don’t meet expectations so if they did start winning, they likely could see a lot of that disappear on its own.
Cleveland could at least offer Watson a competitive roster with two elite running backs and if they did sign a talented wide receiver in free agency, that could be enough — with the addition of Watson — for them to contend in the AFC North.
It’s far from happening, but the Browns surely are kicking around the pros and cons of making such a bold move. And make no mistake, there’s a lot to unpack before making any moves.