It’s always fun to go back and watch those NFL ‘Top 10′ videos with topics ranging from top ten records that will never be broken or top ten worst trades as examples. It’s starting to very much feel like the Cleveland Browns’ trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson will end up on the latter of those lists.
It seems unlikely that Cleveland will indeed move off their embattled quarterback but it has virtually nothing to do with his level of play. The fully guaranteed contract and the need to save face by not giving up on Watson for the sake of every job in that building looms rather large. One has to wonder though if that is truly the correct call. A sign of a good general manager is understanding a sunken cost, when it’s time to cut ties in order to rip the bad-aid off and move forward. Has Watson really shown anything to justify the amount of money and draft capitol you have sunken into him? Is he truly irreplaceable in one of the most gifted NFL rosters in the league?
Since coming to the Browns, Watson has put together just 14 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, leaving behind a menial quarterback rating of 81.7. To his credit Watson has guided Cleveland to a 5-1 record during his time under center this season, but it’s hard to locate a game where you can really say Watson was the reason they won, or find a game where he showed off some elite level of play. Watson’s backups have not played well in the games he missed earlier this season, but they still came away with a 2-2 record. Now with Watson out for the year, it’s going to be hard to justify his paycheck should whichever backup starts take Cleveland to the playoffs.
This is all without even touching on the elephant in the room of his malicious activity off the field that is quite frankly a stain on the NFL and Cleveland football. Or without acknowledging the team the Houston Texans have put together in what is now a grand larceny trade.
The Deshaun Watson experiment has predictably blown up in the faces of the Cleveland Browns despite their record this season, and it’s going to need to be addressed sooner or later. Watson is not going to magically return to an elite quarterback from three years ago, and the dark cloud around his name is not going to disappear. It would be dishonest to say the Browns are really better off with Watson over Baker Mayfield, and they could remain in this limbo of mediocre quarterback play should they choose to not look directly at the problem they created.