The Cleveland Browns have rightfully received push back for handing embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson a record-breaking contract amid allegations from north of 20 women of sexual misconduct.
Cleveland gave Watson a record-breaking deal that included $230 million fully guaranteed after acquiring him from the Houston Texans during the spring. Said blockbuster trade came less than a week after two grand juries in Texas opted against recommending criminal charges against the three-time Pro Bowler.
Since then, things have gone downhill. Watson was originally suspended six games by an independent arbitrator overseeing the NFL personal conduct policy. Once the league appealed said decision, the two sides came to an agreement that forces Watson out for the first 11 games of the 2022 season while costing him a cool $5 million in the pocket book.
Despite the Watson situation having come to a head, there’s still many around the NFL who continue to blast the Browns for their decision-making process months after the fact. That includes one unnamed player-agent who opted to remain anonymous to protect himself and his clients. The unnamed agent put Cleveland on absolute blast.
This is not new. We have seen the Browns receive a ton of criticism in the recent past surrounding Watson and his contract. But we’re now hearing it from those directly affiliated with both the NFL and NFLPA regardless of whether the quote comes from an anonymous source.
Cleveland Browns can’t expect Deshaun Watson criticism to die down
First off, Watson is eligible to play for the first time Week 13 against his former Texans squad in Houston. We’re pretty darn sure that those who had worn Watson jerseys in the past won’t be so welcoming.
Despite settling out of court on a vast majority of the civil cases that were levied against him, Watson accusers have not been quiet in their criticism of the Browns, either.
“It’s just like a big screw you. That’s what it feels like. That we don’t care. He can run and throw, and that’s what we care about,” Deshaun Watson accuser Ashley Solis said back in May. Fellow accuser, Kyla Hayes, called the deal “sick” while saying she felt like Watson was being “rewarded for bad behavior.”
It must also be noted that Cleveland structured Watson’s contract to take into account a potential suspension. His base salary for 2022 was set at just over $1 million. Said number is $46 million in each of the next four seasons.
It was just recently that a senior NFL advisor by the name of Rita Smith went on record indicating that she feels like Deshaun Watson is “playing” the league. “He’s saying exactly what he thinks he needs to say to get on the field again,” Smith said.
What we do know is that Watson is on thin ice. Any type of off-field slip-up and his future in the NFL will be in question. As for the Cleveland Browns, they’ll remain public enemy No. 1 for those who believe accountability has not been taken into account while the continued devaluation of women runs roughshod around the NFL.