3 roadblocks Deshaun Watson will never be able to avoid as Browns quarterback

Browns, Deshaun Watson. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Deshaun Watson. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports /
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Deshaun Watson, Browns
Deshaun Watson, Browns. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2 roadblock for Deshaun Watson – The Baker Mayfield comparisons

This next roadblock for Watson might not the most difficult for him to get by at the moment but it’s still a hot topic amongst fans. Baker Mayfield, the former starting quarterback in Cleveland came to this franchise in 2018 after being drafted No. 1 out of Oklahoma. At the time, the was considered a surprise by most. A lot of pressure was put on the shoulders of Mayfield to produce and help bring this team out of a two-decade funk where losing was contagious.

In the two previous seasons, Cleveland only won one game total, so when Mayfield entered for the first time in 2018 in a Week 3 contest against the New York Jets and led a comeback win, it was a monumental moment. When they made a playoff run in 2020 with Mayfield under center, it only magnified his mysticism.

The former Heisman Trophy winner has played his whole career with a chip on his shoulder, so the fact that Mayfield was now guiding a football franchise in a community that was known for its hard-nosed approach to life the two seemed to mesh well. But that connection seemed to take a major hit after Mayfield became injured at the start of the 2021 season and fell out of favor with fans and the local media as he often acted standoffish.

The Browns’ leadership then made an abrupt decision after the season finished in announcing they had made a trade for Watson. This was while the once very popular Mayfield was still on the roster. By July, Mayfield was finally traded to the Carolina Panthers. These moves divided a fan base that was already on edge.

Fast forward to this past week, and after Mayfield was surprisingly released by the Panthers, he was picked up by the Los Angeles Rams. Last year’s Super Bowl victors, who are struggling mightily this season with a 4-9 record would then push Mayfield out into the spotlight in a Thursday Night Football game. With less than two days to learn the new playbook, Mayfield helped lead his new team to a miracle win in the closing seconds.

That type of crazy story only magnified how things have changed so much for the Browns in less than a year and made the Watson trade seem more significant. Maybe Mayfield wouldn’t have had any more success here in Cleveland if he wasn’t traded but for a large group of the fan base, it will be something that will be questioned for years to come.

With four years left on Watson’s contract with the Browns, winning will need to happen to help put to rest the “what if” questions that have persisted since Mayfield left town.