Diving into the philosophy of why the Cleveland Browns traded six draft picks for QB Deshaun Watson is a fascinating voyage. The Browns front office knew they would receive plenty of criticism and public outcry for this move, as it would not be a popular decision among the fan base.
Cleveland’s organization also knew its willingness to offer a fully guaranteed contract had never been done before — and that their deal could reset the QB marketplace for other NFL front offices, and they would receive backlash across the league from their peers.
Ultimately, the Browns determined the risk was worth the reward. Let’s look at the reasons why the Browns traded for Watson.
The Cleveland Browns Are a Desperate Franchise
The Browns are a desperate franchise. The Browns have never won a Super Bowl, and the pressure around the organization to finally reach the sport’s mountain top is increasing.
Cleveland Browns going to the Super Bowl pic.twitter.com/qUhZSIsbkE
— Dr. Nicole (@DrNicole1908) September 13, 2023
The Browns haven’t always been a team with heightened expectations, but as the team has improved, reaching the playoffs is the next logical step to the ultimate game, the Super Bowl.
Keeping Up With the Joneses
The Browns look around the AFC and see talented QBs everywhere. The last time the Browns made the playoffs, they ran into Patrick Mahomes and saw firsthand how big of a difference a top-tier QB can make for an organization.
Sunday marked one of Lamar Jackson’s best games as pro, and that’s saying something, given his Ravens career.
He was in complete control at the line of scrimmage while checking in and out of play calls, showed excellent touch on passes while spreading the ball around to 8… pic.twitter.com/13d01VzWRg
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) September 18, 2023
Cleveland saw Joe Burrow in Cincinnati and Lamar Jackson in Baltimore in their division and knew they needed to upgrade at the QB position. Cleveland drafted Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall as their franchise QB but quickly realized his limitations and pivoted.
Browns’ Offensive Personnel
Report: Amari Cooper unlikely to play Monday. https://t.co/NrnthLUJ7b
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 17, 2023
Cleveland evaluated their team and determined that if they had the right QB in place, they could compete for a Super Bowl.
MORE: QB Power Rankings 2023
They have some weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Nick Chubb is one of the best RBs in the NFL. Amari Cooper and David Njoku are two of the top receiving options in the NFC North. The hope was that Watson could unlock their upside.
Browns’ Defensive Personnel
The Browns have some mainstays on the defensive side of the football.
Myles Garrett is a premier defensive end in the NFL, capable of taking over a game in the trenches. Denzel Ward is one of the better CBs in the AFC, capable of shadowing the best receivers in the game. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah provides one of the best athletes in the middle of the field.