A trade rumor is floating around Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson in Week 8 following an intriguing report by NBC Sports’ Mike Florio. The Browns gave up three first-round picks for Watson in the 2022 offseason. The 28-year-old quarterback signed a five-year deal worth $230 million in 2022.
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The Browns haven’t gotten their money’s worth yet. Watson didn’t look himself last season when he came back from suspension. He’s struggled with injuries and has only played in four games this season, and had to leave their Week 7 game after only passing the ball five times.
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Watson’s play has not been good this season, either. He’s completing just 61.7 percent of his passes and has thrown four touchdowns to three interceptions. Despite the Watson situation, the Browns are 4-2 and have won two straight games, including an upset of the San Francisco 49ers, with backup quarterback P.J. Walker leading the team.
Watson’s absence in the previous few weeks has confused fans and pundits. Florio is reporting Browns players thought Watson would play against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 when he was medically cleared to play. Watson did not play in the 28-3 blowout loss to the Ravens.
Watson didn’t play the following week against the 49ers, and he played a handful of snaps before leaving the Colts game after suffering a brutal hit. Watson has already been ruled out for Week 8.
Ian Rapoport with the NFL Network said the nature of Watson’s injury, a rotator cuff strain, is a four-to-six-week injury. Rapoport doesn’t think Watson’s absence since the Ravens contest is out of bounds for that type of injury.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 26, 2023
Would the Browns trade Deshaun Watson?
However, Florio isn’t so sure there isn’t another reason Watson isn’t suiting up Sunday. Florio pointed to examples of Watson playing injured Clemson and with the Houston Texans. Watson even rode a bus to play for the Texans because he couldn’t travel by plane with a rib injury.
Florio wrote Watson might want out of Clevland and thinks the Browns could shop Watson before the trade deadline:
“That said, it would be naive to not at least wonder whether Watson has fallen out of love with the Browns. He wanted out of Houston just a few months after signing a big-money extension. Also, the Browns were the first team Watson scratched from his list of four finalists in 2022, before the Browns offered a five-year, fully-guaranteed contract.
So, yes, there’s a weird vibe. Neither the team nor Watson have said or done anything to change the situation. And we’ll continue to monitor things and generally to sniff around about whether the honeymoon has devolved into a standoff that, frankly, leaves both sides with few good options, given that Watson is due to make $46 million in 2023, in 2024, and in 2025, with every penny of it fully guaranteed.
It’s almost enough to make us wonder whether a surprise trade could happen before next Tuesday. At this point, however, who would take on the balance of that contract?”
The Browns still haven’t paid off their trade to the Texans for Watson. They still owe Houston a 2024 first-round pick. With Watson’s recent play and injuries, what would another team be willing to give up in return for the former first-round pick?
More importantly, that guaranteed salary is another issue for a player who will come to a new franchise and fanbase with baggage for off-the-field and now-on-the-field reasons.
The Browns and Watson might not want each other now, but they’re stuck.
Sports news for 10/26/23L
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