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Deshaun Watson: "If anyone is talking about me . . . I must be pretty damn good"

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson arguably faces the most important season of his career. In the third year of his five-year, fully-guaranteed, $230 million contract, he needs to finally give the Browns a return on their massive investment — especially since they also gave up three first-round picks and three other draft selections to get him.

The fact that he has played 12 total games since 2020 has him slipping in the various rankings of quarterbacks that currently are being published by various members of the media. (Chris Simms has him at No. 24.)

Speaking with reporters during the first day of Cleveland's mandatory minicamp, Watson expressed his opinion regarding those who would put him low on the list.

"I don’t get involved with people trying to rate me places where they think I’m at the bottom of the list, you know, it is what it is," Watson said. "If I was at the bottom, no one would talk about me. So, obviously, if anyone is talking about me, continue to talk about me, then I must be pretty damn good.”

That's not why people are talking about him. They're talking about him because he got a major contract after not playing for a full year, at a time when he had faced more than two dozen lawsuits for sexual misconduct during massage sessions. He played six games in 2022 due to a suspension for his behavior. He played six games in 2023 due to injury.

The jury is out on whether he can stay healthy and, if so, whether he can play well. He's a topic of conversation because the pressure is on for him to become "pretty damn good" again. For three straight years, he hasn't been.

Maybe he will be again. Maybe he won't. That's why he's one of the most compelling figures for the 2024 season.

He'll either justify the Browns for making the trade and giving him the contract, or he won't. And if he doesn't, the next question is whether the Browns will make a change in 2025, even if that means owing him $92 million to not play for them.