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Deshaun Watson Trade Makes No Sense For Cleveland Browns
The Browns are reported to have some interest in acquiring Deshaun Watson via trade this offseason.
While Watson is a big name, and upgrade, that will generate a lot of buzz, that is a move that simply does not make any logitistical sense for the Browns. Here's why.
No Trade Clause
The most aggravating part of this "debate" is the fact that Watson quite literally controls his own future due to his contract's no trade clause.
Perhaps he would like to come spend winters in Cleveland, the organization that infamously passed on him in the draft and the locker room that doesn't possess any true downfield threat for him. Seems unlikely.
If Odell Beckham Jr. didn't force his way out in theatric fashion, maybe this looks different. But it's very hard to see Watson waiving his trade clause for Cleveland due to how inept this offensive scheme has looked all year.
"Smart, Tough, Accountable"
Those are the three words we hear on repeat in Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry press conferences.
Nothing about Watson's last calendar year echo any of those three adjectives to be true.
Set aside the legal circus taking place, but Watson is another disgruntled star unhappy with his coaching staff and front office. He doesn't want to be there. Sounds familar. Didn't the Browns just move on from a situation similar from that?
Watson's 22 sexual assault allegations are the icing on the cake. No thanks.
Innocent until proven guilty? Of course. But Watson's status both legally and in the eyes of the NFL are extremely in question. Time in prison? A suspension? Both? It's a muddy situation with no clear answer.
The Browns have found success with reclamation projects in recent years. Kareem Hunt and Malik McDowell have both been bright spots on this roster. But they aren't quarterbacks. They don't touch the ball every play. They aren't the focal point of an organization.
Under Stefanski, the Browns have worked hard to remove the tarnish of troubled players and drama. Beckham's departure was a setback, but they've come too far to take a chance on Watson derailing this entire thing.
The Baker Mayfield Factor
Nobody is arguing that Watson would not be an upgraded talent over Baker Mayfield.
Currently, Mayfield and his torn labrum orchestrate one of the NFL's worst offenses. This offseason, the Browns are likely to waive Case Keenum and bring in some real competition to really push Mayfield, who will be playing on an $18 million fifth-year option.
While Mayfield has struggled, the fact of the matter is that he's still their guy. If Stefanski had any doubts about Mayfield's ability, he wouldn't have left Minnesota for Cleveland in the first place. He could've benched the wounded quarterback for Keenum, Nick Mullens, or anyone else.
Albeit dwindling, the Browns believe Mayfield can take them to the promised land.
Andrew Berry and Jimmy Haslam have both spoken highly of Mayfield at times, saying they will evaluate his entire body of work, not just this season in contract extension talks. Obviously those talks aren't going to be easy after a dissapointing season, but the fifth-year option exists to let Mayfield prove he could still be the longterm answer.
Paying Mayfield $18 million and Watson his $35 million is impossible, meaning Mayfield would need to be traded. The Browns will undoubtedly look to upgrade every position, including QB, but this avenue just doesn't make much sense for 2022.
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