The Cleveland Browns organization has made it clear that they are very pleased with former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, but that hasn’t stopped some from speculating about the team taking a run at disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Turns out it’s very, very unlikely that Watson ends up in Cleveland, per the odds provided by BetMGM. The Browns are currently +10,000 to land Watson, putting them in the bottom tier of potential destinations. Only the Cardinals (+15,000), Ravens (+15,000), Bills (+15,000), Seahawks (+15,000), Packers (+20,000) and Chiefs (+25,000) have worse odds to deal for this year’s passing yards leader.
Follow the Heavy on Browns Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of the Dawg Pound!
Watson’s Relationship With Texans on the Rocks
The Texans finished 4-12 last season, fired head coach Bill O’Brien after an 0-5 start and wasted a year of Watson’s prime. Not to mention the team traded away the Pro Bowler’s top target, DeAndre Hopkins, in the offseason without telling him ahead of time.
Watson, the No. 12 overall pick in 2017, led the NFL in regular-season passing yards with 4,823. He also tossed 33 touchdowns to just seven interceptions, which is an incredible stat line to put up on a four-win squad.
Earlier this month, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the 25-year-old star is “extremely unhappy with the organization” after he was not consulted about the hiring of general manager Nick Caserio.
Watson has since received the backing of another Texans great in Andre Johnson, who recently tweeted that the fourth-year signal-caller should hold his ground in an effort to get out of town — a message that was echoed by the since-departed Hopkins that same day.
“If I’m @deshaunwatson I will stand my ground,” Johnson wrote on January 12. “The Texans organization is known for wasting players careers. Since Jack Easterby has walk into the building nothing good has happened in/for the organization and for some reason someone can’t seem to see what’s going on. Pathetic!!!”
Browns Have Expressed Commitment to Mayfield
While it might be fun to speculate, there’s no reason for the Browns to give up assets to land Watson when they have been very adamant that Mayfield is the future of the position in Cleveland and something they haven’t had in a long time.
“He did an excellent job this year. He led us to first playoff appearance in eons,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry told reporters this week, via CBS Sports. “We got 12 wins, played winning football all year developed a really strong relationship with Kevin and the offensive staff and really, like I mentioned last week, he really thrives on a weekly basis both on and off the field. We are very, very pleased with him. We would not be where we were at the end of the season without his performance. He had a really tremendous season.”
Mayfield showed huge improvement down the stretch, passing for 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns and a career-low eight interceptions. After a rocky sophomore year with the Browns, his resurgence under first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski gave the team renewed hope that he is the future under center.
Mayfield Looking to Change Culture in Cleveland
While Mayfield showed improvement with his play, he also took the next step as a leader in the locker room this season.
“He continues to get better since he came here as a rookie. He continues to grow as a player, as a person and as a leader, and that is what you need,” Browns center JC Tretter told reporters on Monday. “Baker, I think his growth is not yet done. He is not a finished product and I think he would be the first one to tell you that, but you continue to see him get better and better each and every year.”
#Browns center JC Tretter said Baker Mayfield's growth is not done, he's not a finished product, he'd tell you that, but you continue to see him get better
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) January 18, 2021
The Browns face a decision to pick up Mayfield’s fifth-year option this offseason, but they could choose to ink him to an extension instead.