March 20, 2022 will go down in Cleveland Browns folklore forever. This is the day the Cleveland Browns traded for Houston Texans Star Quarterback Deshaun Watson! Houston gave up a 2024 sixth round draft pick and Watson, in exchange for first-round picks in 2022, 2023, and 2024 along with a 2023 third-rounder and 2022 and 2024 fourth-round selections. This trade also netted Watson a cool $230 million guaranteed. You are probably thinking the Browns got a steal acquiring Watson. Or did they make one of the worst mistakes in franchise history?
Lets take a look back at some of the Cleveland Browns biggest mistakes. In 2004 the browns drafted Kellen Winslow JR with the Sixth round pick out of Miami. Winslow Jr only produced in the 2007-2008 season with 82 receptions, 1106 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns. Arguably one of the worst draft picks the Browns selected since TIm couch belongs to Trent Richardson! Richardson came out the gate strong with 267 rushes for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns. Unfortunatley for RIchardson he would be traded only 2 games into the 2013 season , and to add insult to injury he wouldnt crack more than 600 yards the rest of his career. All hope seemed to be lost for this once great franchise. That is until the 2018 draft where the Browns selected Baker Mayfield with the #1 overall draft pick. Mayfield had a great rookie year amassing 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns and 14 int’s. Mayfield was the runner up to ROTY winner Saquan Barkley. Mayfield was a rising star in the league, taking the Browns to the playoffs in 2020 and beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the WIldcard round. The Browns first playoff win since 2002 where we saw the Browns beat the New England patriots 20-13. I know you’re thinking the Browns are back, but are they?
Everything seems to be pointing up for the browns, but the Browns had to pull a Brown move and trade for a franchise Quarterback. Wait didnt they already have one? The answer to that is yes. The move came out of left field and smacked Baker Mayfield in the face. Yes, the browns get a superstar at Quarterback, but what has followed that day back in March, no one was able to predict. Watson was facing 23 lawsuits for sexual assualt before the trade and after the trade. 24! On August 1st 2022 judge Sue L. Robinson suggested a 6 game suspension for Watson. The NFL quickly filed an appeal for that 6 game suspension to be changed to an indefinite suspension. In just one NFL season the Browns went from having a franchise quarterback, to trading for a superstar quarterback, to possibly be looking for a brand new franshise quarterback. WIth Watson on the brink of a indefinte suspension, this begs the question did the Browns make a mistake and just waste all that money and all those draft picks? Only the commissioner Rodger Goodell knows that answer. My question to you, is did the Browns make one of the worst trades in NFL history ? Should they have kept Baker and used that money to bring in more weapons? The Browns future once bright, is now bleak.
Image from: New York post : Ryan Glasspiegel