The Cleveland Browns guaranteed Deshaun Watson’s contract, a decision that looks worse and worse with every new quarterback contract signed around the NFL.
On Thursday morning, the Denver Broncos signed Russell Wilson to a five-year extension with $165 million in guaranteed money. The total deal is worth $245 million.
Wilson now has the third-most guaranteed money in the NFL. Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, the player with the most guaranteed money at $230 million, is sure to get nearly the entire value of Wilson’s deal.
When you consider the context around Watson’s situation — starting with the fact that he won’t even play until week 12 this season due to a suspension — it makes the Browns look absolutely incompetent and morally bankrupt for guaranteeing such a deal.
Let’s start with the pure cost to acquire Watson.
The Browns surrendered five draft picks four across the first two rounds of the draft. The Browns won’t have first-round picks in the next two seasons. In one fell swoop, the Browns decided to give Watson a fully-guaranteed contract for five years and the aforementioned $230 million.
Beyond the dollars and cents, there are costs to the team socially and schematically.
For one thing, the Browns knew a suspension for Watson was likely following over 20 allegations of sexual misconduct. After they traded for him and extended his contract, two new allegations came out.
Watson was suspended for 6 games initially, and then an NFL appeal extended the suspension to 11 games.
The suspension hardly hurts Watson financially:
The Browns owe a lot of money to a player who, firstly, hasn’t played since January of 2021 and secondly, won’t play until the end of 2022. They signed this extension with Watson when no other team was willing to pull the trigger on bringing Watson in due to the litany of complications and issues that come along with doing so.
Cleveland surrendered all leverage they had, and for what?
Furthermore, they’ve acted morally reprehensibly to win at all costs, trading for Watson in the face of details related to sexual misconduct.
Clearly, Cleveland has prioritized winning. But even if you stack the contract up for Watson to other contracts for star quarterbacks across the league just on that basis alone, the Browns look disgraced and foolish.
They’re guaranteeing more money than Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and now Russell Wilson. Based on money, you’re more confident in Deshaun Watson than those three guys?
Layer on the other issues in regards to the situation off the field with Watson, and it’s impossible to justify the contract Cleveland handed out to Watson. The Browns continue to embarrass themselves.
Enjoy it, Cleveland. This will look even worse as time progresses.