The Cleveland Browns haven’t even officially announced the trade for Deshaun Watson as of Sunday morning but they are making moves around it happening. Case Keenum is reportedly out. Jacoby Brissett is reportedly in. Amari Cooper has had his contract restructured to save cap space.
All of that for Watson despite significant allegations off the field that have caused some fans to question their loyalty to the team.
On the field, the former Clemson quarterback has been very good. Despite playing for a Houston team that struggled under Bill O’Brien, Watson put up impressive numbers and led the team to 21 wins combined in 2018 and 2019. During his four years in the league, with 53 starts, Watson has completed 68% of his passes with 104 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.
Watson has also rushed for over 400 yards in the three seasons he was the team’s starter.
Putting all of that into perspective, former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky says that there is no QB better than Watson in the NFL:
Orlovsky retweeted the above tweet which gives credence that it wasn’t taken out of context.
Orlovsky isn’t the only one to have Watson ranked at the top, Pro Football Focus wrote about Watson’s 2020 season and why he was the best quarterback that year:
Absolutely nothing went the Texans’ way last year, and Watson still routinely played at an elite level. Former Houston head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien traded his team’s best receiver, yet Watson played better than ever before. O’Brien was fired midseason, but it didn’t phase the quarterback. He played with a terrible defense, a terrible running game and no star receivers and put up the 19th-best regular-season passing grade of the PFF era (91.2). He’s one of 29 quarterbacks to finish a regular season with a 90.0-plus passing grade.
In Cleveland, much of that will change. The offensive line is elite. The run game is elite. Cooper has been added to give Watson at least one top-level receiver. The defense has a great foundation with Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, John Johnson III, Greg Newsome II and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, among many others. Kevin Stefanski was the coach of the year in 2020 and had the team close to the playoffs despite a number of problems in 2021.
With the civil lawsuits and allegations, Watson would not be taken over Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers or a few other quarterbacks in the league right now. On the field, Orlovsky makes the argument that none are better than Watson. Browns fans will get a chance to see if that is true.