Browns May Cut Ties with Deshaun Watson if Performance Falters

Deshaun Watson's future with the Browns hangs in balance.

by Abdullah Magsi
Browns May Cut Ties with Deshaun Watson if Performance Falters
© Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Deshaun Watson is on the cusp of a pivotal season with the Cleveland Browns. Entering his third year with the team, Watson must prove his worth after the Browns invested heavily in him through a blockbuster 2022 trade, surrendering three first-round picks.

The deal also included an unprecedented $230 million fully guaranteed contract, setting high expectations. Since joining the Browns, Watson's performance has been inconsistent. Over 12 games, he has thrown for 2,217 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions.

His mixed results have raised concerns, particularly given the lack of elite offensive talent surrounding him. Bleacher Report's Brad Gagnon highlighted the challenges Watson faces due to the team's offensive setup. "The obstacle: A lack of offensive support," Gagnon noted.

"The receiving corps is OK, but Jedrick Wills Jr. is a potential liability at left tackle, and there's uncertainty about star running back Nick Chubb's performance post-injury." If Watson's struggles continue this season, Gagnon suggests that the Browns might reconsider their commitment to him despite the hefty guaranteed contract.

"While Watson's guaranteed long-term contract might keep him in place for a while longer, nothing's guaranteed when you continually fail to deliver in this league," Gagnon said. "If he disappoints for a third consecutive season, the Browns might bite the financial bullet and bail."

Browns Boost Offensive Weapons for Watson

To support Watson, the Browns have made strategic moves to strengthen their offense.

Over the past three seasons, they have traded for key wide receivers. Amari Cooper, acquired in 2022, has been a reliable target, amassing 2,410 yards and 14 touchdowns over two seasons. The addition of Elijah Moore last offseason provided another boost.

Moore posted career highs with 640 yards on 59 catches, though he only scored twice and failed to surpass 100 yards in any game. In March, the Browns secured former Denver Broncos first-round pick Jerry Jeudy. Jeudy, who has 3,053 career yards and 11 touchdowns, signed a three-year extension with the Browns.

Tight end David Njoku also remains a crucial part of the offense. Njoku earned his first Pro Bowl nod last season, tallying 882 yards and 6 touchdowns on 81 catches.

Watson's Health Key to Success

Watson's health is a significant concern as he returns from season-ending shoulder surgery.

His participation in OTAs, where he's been throwing every other day, has been promising. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski expressed optimism about Watson's progress. "I think (Watson has) looked like himself to me," Stefanski said.

"He’s making great progress, and we will continue to just follow the medical team on this. But he looks like himself." If Watson can maintain his health and find his rhythm, it could quell doubts about his future with the Browns.

The upcoming season is crucial for Watson to demonstrate his ability to lead the team and justify the substantial investment made in him.

Browns Deshaun Watson