Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has reportedly requested a trade, so, naturally, many football fans are constructing hypothetical deals and opening up Photoshop to make jersey swaps. It’s not every day that a 25-year-old NFL star under contract for multiple seasons suddenly hits the market, after all.
There are obvious potential suitors with big holes at quarterback — Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer broke down the best fits here — but given that Watson is coming off a career year (league-high 4,823 passing yards and 33 touchdowns) with his full prime ahead of him, should a team holding a good QB look to upgrade in the hopes of emerging as a true Super Bowl contender? That’s a question already being asked by some folks in Cleveland.
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The Browns went 11-5 this past season, clinching their first playoff berth since 2002, with Baker Mayfield leading the offense. The former Oklahoma standout threw for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns during the regular season, then outplayed Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the wild-card round, totaling 263 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
So when Mayfield saw a Dawg Pound Daily column with the headline, “It’s time for the Cleveland Browns to think about Deshaun Watson,” he was understandably not thrilled about it.
“Some of y’all ‘Browns’ [fans] are funny,” Mayfield said on Twitter. He then pinned that tweet to the top of his verified page.
As fun as it may be to consider the ramifications of a crazy Browns-Texans trade, Cleveland just doesn’t seem like a logical destination for Watson. On Friday’s edition of “Get Up,” ESPN’s NFL insider Dan Graziano explained why the Browns probably won’t enter the Watson sweepstakes.
“[The Browns] fall into this bucket of teams that, yes, would Deshaun Watson be an upgrade over what they have? Objectively, yes. But they’re not looking for that,” Graziano said. “Cleveland has their guy. They like their guy. … Their plan is to go forward with the program they’ve put together.
“Would they make a call and find out [about Watson]? Possibly. But I don’t think that’s a likely scenario when you talk about what a team would have to give up. You’d be overhauling your whole program, not just your quarterback situation. And right now, Cleveland doesn’t feel like they’re in a position where they need to overhaul things to that extent.”
Mayfield will never miss a chance to fire back at his critics and use perceived disrespect as motivation. In this case, though, he really has nothing to worry about.