Browns announce trade for Deshaun Watson, touting “extensive” homework on his off-field issues

Houston Texans v Cleveland Browns
Getty Images

It’s not quite as pervasive as Tim Tebow repeatedly saying he was “excited” to join the Jets a decade ago, but the Browns have found a buzzword to utilize in announcing their trade for Deshaun Watson.


That’s the one word that shows up in a trio of statements issued by the team in its official declaration of the acquisition of Watson. Quotes have been provided by owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, G.M. Andrew Berry, and coach Kevin Stefanski.

“We spent a tremendous amount of time exploring and investigating the opportunity to trade for Deshaun Watson,” the Haslams said. “We are acutely aware and empathetic to the highly personal sentiments expressed about this decision. Our team’s comprehensive evaluation process was of utmost importance due to the sensitive nature of his situation and the complex factors involved. We also understand there are still some legal proceedings that are ongoing and we will respect due process. It was pivotal that we, along with Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski, meet with Deshaun to have a straightforward dialogue, discuss our priorities, and hear directly from him on how he wants to approach his career on and off the field. He was humble, sincere, and candid. In our conversations, Deshaun detailed his commitment to leading our team; he understands and embraces the hard work needed to build his name both in the community and on the field. Those in-depth conversations, the extensive evaluation process, his dedication to being a great teammate and devotion to helping others within the NFL, within the community, and through his charitable initiatives provided the foundation for us to pursue Deshaun. We are confident in Deshaun and excited about moving forward with him as our quarterback and supporting his genuine and determined efforts.”

The statement seems to acknowledge, if not brace for, the blowback to acquiring Watson. The teams who pursued him surely realized that they would get a long-term franchise quarterback in exchange for a short-term P.R. and availability problem.

“We look forward to having Deshaun as our starting quarterback,” Berry said. “We have done extensive investigative, legal and reference work over the past several months to provide us with the appropriate information needed to make an informed decision about pursuing him and moving forward with him as our quarterback. Deshaun has been among the very best at the position and he understands the work needed to re-establish himself on and off the field in Cleveland. We are confident that he will make positive contributions to our team and community as we support his return to football.”

“Our organization did a tremendous amount of background on Deshaun,” Stefanski said. “We understand the concerns and questions that exist but are confident in the extensive work Andrew and his staff have done to feel confident about him joining our organization. It was important for us to meet with Deshaun in person as part of our team’s evaluation process, we had a candid conversation regarding his approach to coming into our organization and community. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to coach Deshaun, he is ready to put in the hard work needed to help our team improve and make a positive impact in our community.”

Many factors remain unresolved, from the 22 civil actions to when, if, and for how long the league will suspend Watson. Also, it’s still possible that state or federal criminal charges will be pursued.

The Browns  — confident that their extensive research will lead to a positive outcome — obviously are welcoming these entanglements, because the payoff is the one thing they haven’t had since the franchise reconstituted 23 years ago.

A franchise quarterback.

59 responses to “Browns announce trade for Deshaun Watson, touting “extensive” homework on his off-field issues

  1. Browns are back to being the Browns. $230 million for a guy with still 22 pending civil sexual misconduct cases. They’ll say they need an adult to run the team and this is the choice? Well done.

  2. You can take the “extensive” look-see into Watson, turn it upside down, coat it with olive oil and grill it to a nice mid-rare but the fact remains that the Browns mortgaged the house to sign a guy with a questionable moral character.

  3. Still no closer to a super bowl than before.
    In fact you’ll never go to one with watson.

  4. The lawyer repping most of the accusers says no team reach out to him…. how is this “extensive”?

  5. I love how earlier this week when you first mentioned this might be in the works how you concluded the Browns had soured on Mayfield because they wanted an adult in the room at the position. Well, swing and miss on that one, I guess. They get one of the most amazingly talented players to enter the league at that position in a long time, but he hasn’t played for over a year and could soon be facing extensive prison time. And all because he feels entitled to women’s attention like the child so many football stars remain most of their careers. Good luck! I hope it’s worth the risks.

  6. So basically Cleveland is saying that the need to win outweighs any character flaws even if those flaws involve possible sexual misconduct, and on top of that they’re perfectly ok with making this guy the face of their franchise. I don’t think this is going to end well. Let’s say he settles all of the cases, and he’s suspended by the league, and then returns, but down the road another woman says it’s happened again then what? IF he’s guilty of these accusations he’s going to do it again, because guys like that can’t just stop acting on their impulses they’re broken that’s why they act the way they act. There’s no fixing that. He flew women into town to engage in sexual acts with massage therapists he’s already admitted that, and Cleveland just said yea we’re cool with that…WOW

  7. Anybody else notice the team hasnt scheduled a press conference yet to announce this guy? I think they are realizing how royally they screwed this up. There will be a few fans who accept this, but a ton like me will never be able to support this guy or the people who made this possible. Goodbye browns, looming forward to mocking your every loss.

  8. When they drafted Mayfield I posted that I’m done with them and people (rightly so) shot back with c’ya & don’t let the door…,etc. Now if anyone says the same about Watson,I understand,but c’ya but welcome back once you get off the high horse.

  9. The Browns are likely the most poorly run team in the NFL. They are an embarrassment in incompetence. Mistake by the Lake!

  10. Haslam….I extensively looked at my dad’s warren buffett cash and decided to get a new QB…

  11. Art Modell said he was forced to move the Browns to Baltimore because of huge contract given to WR Andre Rison. Who wants to bet in a couple years Jimmy Haslam won’t use this huge contract as an excuse to move the Browns Version 2 for big out of town money?

  12. Bengals and Steelers still better teams… The Ravens are but a few players (QB) away from being better than the Browns!

  13. imagine how annoying baker must be behind the scenes for them to prefer the drama of deshaun watson

  14. I’m still confused by their statement that they wanted an adult as their QB. It gives the impression that they would pass on Watson.

    Nope. All of their venom instead was directed publicly at Mayfield. A crappy thing for them to do.

  15. Watson is not going to jail,he’s not paying any money, and he’s not getting suspended by the NFL,if anything happened all of those scenarios would have happened a longtime ago. Nobody is getting a dime.

  16. Their “homework” was so “extensive” that they completely ignored the 22 women suing him. Incredible!!!!

  17. I bet they did extensive research…just like KC with Clark and Dallas with Hardy. Extensive research to see if fans and revenue would decline when they bring in someone like Watson.

  18. I knew the browns were crazy when they were willing to give up three first round draft picks for him crazy!

  19. The Browns used an extensive amount of words to say nothing at all. They have a huge PR nightmare that is undoubtedly going to effect the team and the community. Buckle up, Cleveland.

  20. Ok, not a Browns fan, I’m a Lions fan so I have no horse in this. That being said there are tooo many jokes for this I can’t choose one. Got rid of a child, brought in a guy who if he has grown up doesn’t demonstrate it much by his judgment. Cleveland was a joke for a long time, as a Lions fan misery loves company and I appreciate someone you can count on to play cards with. Saints used to be this way. Bucs too. Cleveland brass you BETTER be right on this call. If not, you will dry up the optimism in the fan base so fast it will make our head spin. I don’t expect this to all work out for Cleveland and him. Frankly if you switch Cleveland to the NFC I change my opinion. But in the AFC, in that division I have no faith this results in anything more than wild card slot optimism and no division titles. Cincinnati is better. Ravens an argument can be made. IMO

  21. Extensive homework:

    Jimmy Haslam, you hit all the massage parlors.
    Dee, you check all the social media,.
    Andrew Berry, the drug scene.
    Stefanski, do something on the football side if you can.

  22. I remember a team several years ago (Vikings) who traded three No. 1s for a certain running back. Didn’t turn out very well.

  23. In other words ” he’s a really good QB so all those women must be lying”

  24. Just as you think the league has hit the moral rock bottom, they sink even lower. Rewarding such disposable behavior may not be the sign of the apocalypse but is on the roadway toward the abyss. Browns fans have been incrediblly loyal during decades of futility but how they embrace this slimeball will define them for decades more.

  25. I’m sure their “extensive research” was mostly confined to how many games he would be suspended by the NFL and if he would have a court order issued forcing his return to Texas to testify. I highly doubt any research was done into the reasons behind him throwing a tantrum and not playing for a year or if he is a high character person, which he isn’t.

  26. Lawyer representing women accusers says nobody has been contacted by the browns…

  27. High risk high reward. If Deshaun’s off the field issues are truly behind him, he is a top 3 QB in the league.

  28. How much is winning important? I was a big fan of Watson coming out of Clemson but no one sees this many massages theaparist without something going on. Sure he won’t get prisoin time or any criminal charges but the civil lawsuits don’t operate in the same manner.

    It is sad that what he did will only be a temporary PR set back for the team. Something should supersede sports but in the end if you can win the gridiron you will be forgiving and any wrong deeds forgotten. No integrity.

  29. rodgersfeeblecollarbone says:
    March 20, 2022 at 12:07 pm
    Browns are back to being the Browns. $230 million for a guy with still 22 pending civil sexual misconduct cases.


    So worst case Watson has to pay the 22 women. These are not criminal cases. How would it impact the Browns?

  30. oldgrouch says:
    March 20, 2022 at 4:54 pm
    Just as you think the league has hit the moral rock bottom, they sink even lower. Rewarding such disposable behavior may not be the sign of the apocalypse but is on the roadway toward the abyss.


    I think you mean “despicable “. And whether you are opposed to his behavior or not, it certainly is not as bad as the violence many star players have committed and even admitted to. I give you Tyreek Hill as exhibit A.

  31. If and when Watson plays this is a huge upgrade to the team. Just look at the Vegas odds.

  32. Watson better play his butt off if this trade is going to be worth it for the Browns. I just don’t see how it makes them so much better to compete for a Super Bowl. They have a lot of positions of need and trading three first-rounders is going to hamper their ability to do that.

    Nobody knows if this trade will be worth it but I’d have to say there’s about a 1% chance this won’t backfire on the Browns. However, they’re used to losing so it’s not like that’ll be anything new.

  33. Three first round picks plus 3rd and more? LOL, this is why the Browns have been the worst run organization sim the last 20 or so years, and that’s with the Snyder team, Jags, and Raiders in the league

  34. Overpaid in salary and in draft picks. Quit on his team. Bad character. Browns will reap what the sowed

  35. Nobody buys that huge pile of PR baloney in the least. Everyone knows the truth is simply that they were desperate and overpaid and simply don’t care about the blowback. It’s a lie, no matter how much they say it with a straight face.

    Their homework was simply figuring out how to get away with it. Look at the disgusting move with his first-year salary, designed to keep him from financial accountability for his actions.

    These people have no morality. And very little intelligence – no one offers any other QB 5 years of this pay fully guaranteed. Not Brady, not Rodgers, not Mahomes, nobody. All for a guy who’s never won anything. It’s completely insane.

  36. Maybe they should have done extensive research by contacting the 22 women….or their attorney…or maybe extensive thinking about how they, in good conscience, can offer $230 MILLION to a person with such bad character. At least wait until, maybe, he is exonerated. There are a lot of dirt bags in the NFL…but giving this one $230 million GUARANTEED…c’mon now.

  37. Im glad I wasnt a Browns fan before this. I would probably just quit watching football if I was.

  38. For three first round picks and two middle round picks, they could have traded up to the top spot in the 2023 draft which is loaded with potential franchise QBs.

  39. Maybe I’m mistaken but didnt the Browns make the playoffs last year with an injured Baker? I know of no team that goes out and replaces a QB who just took you to the playoffs. No the simple answer is the Halims saw what the Rams did and what that super bowl and no Baker isnt the guy to deliver that so why renew and pay him? He did nothing wrong. It was the Rams who turned the eyes of many a GM, get the guy to fill that gap and its super bowl time.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.