Deshaun Watson trade perplexing on many levels

Michael Guido, Managing & Sports Editor

The Cleveland Browns stunned the football world last week, announcing they had traded for disgraced Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in one of the biggest blockbuster trades the NFL has seen in recent memory.

The trade consisted of the Browns sending the Texans their next three first-round picks, a third-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-round pick in 2024.

In exchange, the Browns received Watson and a 2024 fifth-round pick.

To follow that massive move, the Browns also gave Watson a brand new contract, in the form of a five-year, $230 million deal, with all of it guaranteed.

The contract signed by Watson is for the most money any NFL player has ever signed and it is the most guaranteed money a player has ever received.

The move has perplexed fans and commentators alike, from a football perspective as well as from an off the field perspective.

From the football perspective, the Browns are staking it all on the belief that their window to compete for and win a championship is now.

With a team that features players such as Nick Chubb, David Njoku, Kareem Hunt, Amari Cooper, D’Ernest Johnson and Donovan Peoples-Jones as offensive weapons, coupled with a defense anchored by Myles Garrett, the pieces are there to at least make a playoff run, if not go for the entire thing.

However, one has to wonder what long-term ramifications could emerge due to the extreme loss in draft capital, and the inevitable cap hit the Browns will take with so much money being tied up in one player?

When certain players are due for extensions and big money in the next few years, it may come down to Watson needing to restructure the contract or take a pay cut; neither of those are guaranteed outcomes.

On a much bigger note of importance, there are the questions surrounding Watson and his personal conduct.

Watson is currently facing 22 civil lawsuits in which he is accused of sexual harassment and assault.

This is after the fact that Watson was not criminally indicted by a grand jury for sexual assault.

While Watson was not indicted, the cloud still hangs over the Browns’ new signal-caller as he navigates the civil court cases.

This has led to intense backlash, even from some Browns fans.

Since the trade was made public, over 1,000 donations have been made to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and fans as well as commentators have publicly chided the Browns organization for replacing existing franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield with “an adult” in the locker room.

Time will tell whether the Browns have made the right decision, both from a football and moral standpoint.

However, with a possible suspension looming for a player who hasn’t stepped into a game in over a year, plus with civil lawsuits still pending, it remains, in the short term, perplexing to say the least.



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