No one said being a Browns fan was easy. On a day when my favorite team acquires a top-five quarterback, he has to arrive in Berea with the worst kind of baggage. Now the Browns are the favorite to win the AFC North and are one of the teams in the mix as a Super Bowl contender. Browns fans just want to win and with Deshaun Watson, as their quarterback, they’re going to win. If you’re excited by this move, great. If you’re disgusted by this move, I completely understand. There are a good number of fans who are leaving the Browns and are going to root for another team, again I understand and will not fault you for making that choice. I’ve said it many times, the NFL is a business and it’s in the business to make money. To make money, a team has to win.
As purely a football move, it’s brilliant and bold. The last two years, two teams made the big move to go “all in” to win the Super Bowl and it worked. This year the Denver Broncos did the same thing. GM Andrew Berry only gave up one 2022 draft pick, their first pick. They still have eight draft picks in the 2022 NFL draft. As for the money, $230 million guaranteed? There are rumors the first-year cap hit is only $10 million. Currently, the Browns are about $36 million under the cap, but the deals for Grant, Walker, Hubbard and Watson haven’t been officially announced. They’ll gain $18.8 million when Baker Mayfield is traded, will gain $ 9.5 million on June 1 due to the Hooper release and saved $15 million with the Cooper restructure. Speaking of Mayfield, he and his representatives were told at the combine that the Browns might try and acquire a top-tier quarterback to replace him. Included on that list was Watson. GM Andrew Berry is and will always be committed to improving the Browns roster and that’s what this move did. That’s his job. I have nothing against Baker Mayfield, he did turn the Browns franchise around. However, you could see the cracks in the relationship with the team start to widen last year. Now there are reports Mayfield was planning to not report to OTA’s and training camp if the Watson trade hadn’t happened. Again, it’s a business.
Moving forward, there will be a press conference and I hope tough questions will be asked and answered. There will be a good amount of “coach speak” and “GM speak.” The Browns will rehab Watson’s image and there will be good to come out of it. If there is one silver lining in all this, there will be more attention placed on the sexual abuse and assault of women. As for myself, I can’t stop being a Browns fan. I’m too invested in this team. My father took my brother and me to games when we were kids and I had the privilege of seeing the great Jim Brown play in person. It does feel dirty, you can feel conflicted and torn. But you can also still root for the Browns. All I have to say is…this better work. If it doesn’t, there will be hell to pay.