Does Russell Wilson release mean the Browns could also part ways with Deshaun Watson?

Russell Wilson will be leaving the Broncos with the largest cap hit ever, but could this open the door for Deshaun Watson to be released by the Browns?

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Cleveland Browns / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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There was some huge news in the NFL on Monday. No, this isn't about the rumor that the Cleveland Browns could be interested in Justin Fields. Instead, it was the Denver Broncos announcing that they were going to release Russell Wilson after just two years with the team.

While the parting doesn't come as a major shock, the amount of dead money does. Wilson, who signed a five-year, $245 million deal in 2022 will set the record for the most dead money in league history. Essentially, the Broncos will eat $85 million cap space to not have Russ cooking for them.

Wilson will be free to sign elsewhere but it's hard to see his market being very strong right now. Overall, his numbers were fine in Denver but the team just didn't respond to him as a leader.

Does Russell Wilson release mean anything for Deshaun Watson and the Browns?

It's natural for Cleveland fans to quickly wonder if the Broncos willingness to take on $85 million in dead money would mean their team would be willing to take the hit to move on from Deshaun Watson, who is easily the least popular man in the NFL.

Watson was also added in 2022 after Cleveland lost out on Wilson. The former Seahawk was originally their target but he reportedly rejected the team's pitch. They then set their sights on Watson and found a way to pull off an unexpected blockbuster trade. What followed that was the fully guaranteed five-year, $235 million deal.

That contract was ridiculed from the start and even though players such as Wilson made more, Watson's guarantees make him un-releasable. Even Wilson's $85 million in dead money feels like a bargain for what would happen to the Browns if they cut Watson.

According to Spotrac, releasing him as a Post-June 1 cut would lead to the following hits to the cap space:

2024 Dead Money: $155.98 million
2024 Cap Savings: -$92 Million
2025 Dead Money: $44.9 million

Even finding a trading partner — as many have suggested — would do little to help. That would give them a dead cap hit of just $17.98 million this season with $46 million in savings — which sounds nice. That is until you see the $46 million cap hit in 2025. That's more manageable but it would also involve finding a team willing to pay the remainder of his deal.

In other words, the Russell Wilson news means nothing for Deshaun Watson and the Browns.

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