The Cleveland Browns will need its star quarterback to play like one next season. Can Deshaun Watson take his game to the next level?
The Cleveland Browns traded away an enormous amount of assets for Deshaun Watson and then gave him the most lucrative contract in NFL history. The Browns did this with the understanding that Watson has what it takes to lead them to the Super Bowl.
With Super Bowl LVII in the books, it’s fair to wonder if Watson can do what Patrick Mahomes just did for the Kansas City Chiefs. Watson clearly did not look himself in six games under center last season. Yes, there was a ton of rust to go along with new players, coaches, and playbook. He gets a pass for that.
But the clock starts in 2024 on Watson. Patrick Mahomes just took a brand-new receiving corps to the Super Bowl this season and made them look like all-stars. The Chiefs traded away the most electrifying player in football, Tyreek Hill, and Kansas City didn’t miss a beat.
Watson was brought in the be that for Cleveland. He needs to show the poise and demeanor next season that Mahomes showed in 2024. He needs to be able to get the best out of the talent that he has around him.
Yes, he has Nick Chubb, David Njoku, and Amari Cooper at his disposal. But players like Donavan Peoples-Jones, David Bell, and Harrison Bryant are going to need to have impacts on the 2024 season. They can only do that if Watson is playing at his best.
I’m worried because of what Deshaun Watson was during the 2020 season. He was fantastic with 4,823 yards passing and 33 touchdowns. He also had 443 yards rushing and three scores. He did everything a franchise quarterback was expected to do. Except win. The Texans finished with a 4-12 record that season. For some reason, Watson couldn’t elevate the team around him.
The Browns are way more talented than that 2020 Texans team. That alone should account for more than four wins. But make no mistake, the Browns paid Watson for his ability to not only perform but to make the players around him better. Look no further than the 2023 Mahomes’ as the example. If Watson can’t get to that level then the trade was all for not.