Deshaun Watson’s trade grades: Browns take costly (but worthy) hit; Texans don’t look so hot


Deshaun Watson was eventually traded from the Texans. The Browns weren’t the intended destination when trade rumors started buzzing earlier this month once criminal charges were dropped against the quarterback, but it made sense in the end why they were so desperate to improve the position on the field.

So what kind of deal was that on both sides? Here’s The Sporting News’ breakdown of the fallout and ranking of how Houston and Cleveland fared in the agreed blockbuster move:

MORE: Ranking Baker Mayfield’s 7 best trades, from Colts to Buccaneers

Business notes from Deshaun Watson

Browns receive:

  • QB Deshaun Watson
  • 2024 fourth-round pick

Texans receive:

  • 2022 first-round pick
  • 2023 first-round pick
  • 2023 third-round pick
  • 2024 first-round pick
  • Fifth-round pick in 2024

Browns: A-

Although the Browns got backlash for their relentless pursuit and eventual success in landing Watson, they wouldn’t have made such a hit movie if they hadn’t believed, when talking to Watson, that he would not face any discipline from the league. or beyond.

There is no doubt that the 26-year-old Watson is an upgrade over Baker Mayfield and provides Cleveland with more long-term stability and elite passing and running for several seasons to come. . The Browns have their biggest piece to go from playoff limit team to Super Bowl competition and are loaded around the QB, becoming the new team to beat in the AFC North against the champion Bengals. Joe Burrow’s AFC, Lamar Jackson’s Ravens and Ben Roethlisberger- minus Steelers.

The Browns gave Watson a significant raise. He was on a four-year, $136 million contract with the Texans, averaging $39 million per season. He’s now signed to a five-year, $230 million deal, up to $45 million per season.

For Cleveland, dropping future considerations was worth it (along with the mega contract) as the team is capable of winning the Super Bowl with Watson, given his strengths in the running game, offensive line and defense led by Myles Garrett. The team also has a clear No. 1 wide receiver for Watson now in Amari Cooper and should improve veteran depth soon. The Browns have the talent to move the Bengals in the division and everyone, including Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs and Josh Allen’s Bills, in the conference.

The rating for aggressiveness and landing a top talent at the most important position in the game is an A, and that would have been regardless of the compensation required. There is a small deduction for the uncomfortable circumstances surrounding Watson. But you can’t blame the Browns for landing an elite QB in his prime, one who had a strong desire to be part of their organization.

MORE: What to know about Deshaun Watson’s legal situation

Texas: C.

There’s an argument that the Texans totally failed in their handling of Watson, even before the sexual assault and harassment charges. They have been dysfunctional as an organization for quite some time since former coach Bill O’Brien. On the other hand, even in the absence of criminal charges against Watson, they fell on the right off-court team.

Let’s separate the difference between F and A. The Texans get no extra credit for prolonging the drama and not finding the exact mother lode expected in exchange for Watson. They are forced to rush things with draft picks and new personnel given their current front office. Houston had issues before issues with Watson and replaces them with new ones.

Ultimately, after a season of sitting out and concerning developments around him, there’s a not-so-epic conclusion.


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