Proposed trade sending Browns QB Deshaun Watson to Giants makes no sense for either team

Mike Tannenbaum proposed a trade that would send Deshaun Watson from the Browns to the Giants and would be terrible for both franchises

Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday morning, former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum was a guest on the ESPN show 'Get Up' and decided to dive into a rather wild trade proposal. Tannenbaum, who was a player personnel assistant with the Cleveland Browns in 1995, discussed Deshaun Watson being traded by Cleveland to the New York Giants.

The former New York Jets general manager said he would send Watson and a second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Giants in exchange for Daniel Jones. From there, he dove into his logic which included saying both teams need a reset at the quarterback position.

“If you’re the Cleveland Browns, you have Dorian Thompson-Robinson, you have Joe Flacco, and now, a 27-year-old Daniel Jones who has one year left of guaranteed money for $36 million and an enormous amount of flexibility moving forward. If you’re the Giants, you’re getting Deshaun Watson, who’s 29 — who’s making $46 million a year over the next three years — and a second-round pick. To me, [the Giants] need a frontline difference-making quarterback.” — Tannenbaum on ESPN

At first, this trade sounds slightly out of left field. The more you dig into it, however, the more it just sounds outright ridiculous. In fact, there's absolutely no upside for either team in such a suggested trade. Trading Jones would leave the Giants with $33.315 million in dead money. The only savings would be $13.79 million, which wouldn't even make a dent in the amount they would owe Watson.

Adding him would put a $46 million cap hit on top of the dead money. Sure, the Browns once took on $16 million to add a second-round pick (which turned into Nick Chubb) but no general manager would be willing to swap quarterbacks and have more than $79 million invested in the position for a mere second-round pick.

Watson would indeed be an upgrade over Jones, and the Giants need a playmaker at quarterback. But this trade would prevent them from making any moves in free agency, leaving Watson with a lackluster roster around him.

Browns don't need to move on from Deshaun Watson

As bad as the move would be for the Giants, it would also be a terrible decision for Cleveland. While they did catch fire with Joe Flacco under center, there's no guarantee he would return even if Watson was traded. That means they could be heading into the season with Daniel Jones as their starter, which would be a step in the wrong direction. If they did retain Flacco, it would be ridiculous to pay him to be the starter while being on the hook for the remaining $36 million in guaranteed money for Jones.

There's also this misguided notion that the Browns are desperate to get rid of Watson and that he's been a major problem. Sure, he missed 11 games in 2022 due to a suspension but they were expecting him to be out longer than that. In 2023, he missed another 11 games but that happened due to an injury and as we saw throughout the year, he was far from the only player to deal with health concerns.

When he was on the field, Watson was doing what the Browns wanted him to do — leading them to wins. In the six games he started, they were 5-1, meaning they were 6-6 without him counting the playoffs. Watson missed the majority of one of those wins, but he was still getting the job done and even taking that win away and crediting P.J. Walker, 4-1 with Watson is much better than the 7-6 mark with him sidelined. Plus, the last time we saw him playing, he was on fire, picking apart the Baltimore Ravens on the road — even though he broke a bone in his shoulder during that game.

Watson isn't a popular player by any means, but the Browns knew that when they traded for him. The lack of public approval isn't going to change their minds about him. Neither is a broken bone after he was winning games for them. That's why this trade makes even less sense for the Browns — which is saying something because it would be a monumental disaster of a move for the Giants.

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