Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel discuss the five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract the Browns gave to Watson. Handing the highest guaranteed money ever given to an NFL player, to a player still facing 22 civil lawsuits, many of them alleging sexual assault and misconduct. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
CHARLES ROBINSON: I think that the element of the contract here with Deshaun Watson is unlike anything I've ever seen. And there was a pretty significant backlash across the NFL from people who were pissed off about the deal the Browns did. Number one, it's being underplayed right now how much Jimmy and Dee Haslam must have been involved in this because there's no way in any way, shape, or form on any planet in any universe any NFL team signs a player to a 230 million guaranteed deal where the owner is not the driving force.
You could not convince me that Andrew Berry, the general manager, was the train for this particular deal. You cannot convince me that Paul DePodesta, the chief strategist, was the train for that kind of financial layout or Kevin Stefanski. I'm straight up, $230 million guaranteed is the NFL owners of that team Jimmy and Dee Haslam saying, this is it. Let's go get this. Let's do this.
So I think it starts at the very top. We can say whatever we want about Andrew Berry, we can say whatever we want about Stefanski and DePodesta, that's fine, but all these questions have to begin with ownership. And they're all difficult questions that now need to be asked. And they were always going to need to be asked wherever you went, what the hell made you comfortable with this, the person?
The 22 civil suits, we understand the grand jury didn't indict that's not a proclamation of innocence, it's just we don't have the evidence to indict. We're not indicting the guy moving on.
DAN WETZEL: I can answer your question.
CHARLES ROBINSON: OK, so let's start there. Let's start--
DAN WETZEL: What made them comfortable--
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, let's start there.
DAN WETZEL: --they don't care. That's it. I'm not trying to be mean. I'm not trying to be-- they don't care. They're looking at it like a piece of real estate that would never go on the market unless it burned. And it burned, so they then want that piece of real estate so bad. They're not paying under or worried about is it prone to fire, they are just buying it like nothing changed. They're going on the old Zillow listing.
CHARLES ROBINSON: It was about availability.
DAN WETZEL: This is it. It was just this guy is available. If you had come to them 14 months ago, 13 whatever, literally almost a year ago, and said you can get Deshaun Watson for three first round picks and you got to give him a $230 million contract, every team in the league pretty much would have said, done, I'll do it. That's all. They don't care. Jimmy and Dee Haslam don't care.
Their little statements, as I said, we're investigating. You didn't investigate anything. Like these guys, they don't care. They're rich. They're tired of losing. They don't care about their reputation. They don't care about the Cleveland Browns reputation. They want Deshaun Watson, they think he's going to win. They got something they can't get. That's it. Everything else is just window dressing. They don't care.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Well, it is a fair criticism. And I think there is the question--
DAN WETZEL: I don't even criticizing them.
CHARLES ROBINSON: No I'm just-- I think it is a fair bit of analysis that as you said, there was no depreciated asset here. You did not pay any depreciation. You paid an appreciation. Basically what happened was this was almost like as if he were a free agent. This is the type of deal he would have signed if he were a free agent. It would have been $230 million guaranteed deal. So you paid full value for it plus picks. Again it's just it's like unlike anything we've ever seen in the NFL--