By Alex Raskin, Sports News Editor for DailyMail.com
The Browns traded for Deshaun Watson in March, sending three future first-round picks and a fourth-rounder to Houston. Watson waived his no-trade clause to facilitate the deal, which came with a fully guaranteed, five-year, $230 million contract that included a $44.5 million signing bonus.
Since then, the Browns have been criticized for that contract, which replaced the four-year, $177.5 million extension he signed with the Texans in 2020.
Specifically, critics objected to the structure of deal, which pays Watson only $1 million in 2022, when he could face a potential suspension over sexual misconduct claims, and $46 million annually over the final four years.
This way, if Watson is suspended in 2022, he’ll lose around $60,000 per game missed.
For comparison, were his contract structured evenly over the next five years, he’d lose more than $2 million for every game he’s suspended.
Browns general manager Andrew Berry (left) and head coach Kevin Stefanski (right) both said they understood the criticism surrounding their acquisition of Watson and his contract. However, they insisted they’re confident in ‘Deshaun the person’ following a five-month team-funded investigation that began last fall, when Watson was being benched in Houston in the aftermath of the allegations
Browns GM Andrew Berry defended the structure of the contract in March, saying the Browns back loaded the deal to allow for more roster flexibility this year, when they still hope to add more talent to the roster.
‘The things that were important to us from a club perspective were to… have Deshaun Watson under contract for another year, have it structured in a manner that would allow us maximum flexibility to execute the rest of our off-season plan,’ Berry said.
The team also no longer has last year’s starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield, on the books after he left for the Carolina Panthers.
At Watson’s introductory press conference in March, Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski both said they understood the criticism surrounding their acquisition of the quarterback and his contract. However, they insisted they’re confident in ‘Deshaun the person’ following a five-month team-funded investigation that began last fall, when Watson was being benched in Houston in the aftermath of the allegations.