Just how bad did the Browns get robbed in the Deshaun Watson trade?

The trade for Deshaun Watson still doesn't look good for the Browns
Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

No one expected the Cleveland Browns to pull off the trade for Deshaun Watson in 2022 but they were able to make it happen. General manager Andrew Berry rolled the dice and surrendered a bounty of draft picks to the Houston Texans for the rights to one of the most unpopular players in the entire NFL.

Not only did they give up a ton of draft capital for a player facing more than 20 counts of sexual misconduct, but they also signed him to a massive five-year extension with a fully guaranteed $230 million.

Such a gamble can be catastrophic if it doesn't pay off — and so far, it hasn't paid off for the Browns.

Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski deserve credit for keeping the team competetive despite Watson's inconsistent play but that doesn't mean they won the trade. In fact, we can now look back at what the Texans did with their picks and see this has been one of the more lopsided losses in the history of NFL trades.

What the Browns sent to the Texans

Cleveland agreed to send six total picks the Houston for Watson, including three first-rounders. Here'd a look at what those selections ended up being:

  • 2022 first-round pick (13th)
  • 2022 fourth-round pick (104)
  • 2023 first-round pick (12)
  • 2023 third-round pick (73)
  • 2024 first-round pick (23)
  • 2024 fourth-round pick (123)

What the Texans ended up with

There's a lot that went on with each pick and Jared Dublin of CBS Sports does a good job of breaking it all down. Houston made several more trades with the draft capital and in the end, they wound up with the following 11 players and one future pick.

  • Kenyon Green, G
  • John Metchie III, WR
  • Christian Harris, DT
  • Thomas Booker, DT
  • Dameon Pierce, RB
  • Will Anderson, Jr., EDGE
  • Calen Bullock, CB
  • Tank Dell, WR
  • Kamari Lassiter, CB
  • Jamal Hill, LB
  • Cade Stover, TE
  • 2025 Second-Round Pick (Minnesota Vikings)

Some players the Browns could have selected

Again, the Browns deserve a lot of credit for being able to compete and if Watson returns to form, they could still come out on top. Of course, we're entering the third season with him on the roster and the conversation still starts with a big "if." That tells us quite a bit.

With that being said, here's a look at some of the players they could have added with the picks they traded to Houston. Not only could they have fixed their wide receiver problem but there would have been several options to replace Jedrick Wills and even a quarterback who played well as a rookie in 2023 in Will Levis.

2022 NFL Draft

  • Kyle Hamilton, S (14th)
  • Jahan Dotson, WR (22nd)
  • Tyler Smith, OT (24th)

2023 NFL Draft

  • Lukas Van Ness, EDGE (13th)
  • Broderick Jones, OT (14th)
  • Christian Gonzalez, CB (17th)
  • Jordan Addison, WR (23rd)
  • Will Levis, QB (33rd)

2024 NFL Draft

  • Brian Thomas, WR (23rd)
  • Jordan Morgan, OT (24th)
  • Xavier Worthy, WR (28th)
  • Tyler Guyton, OT (29th)
  • Xavier Legette, WR (32nd)

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