Four-Time All Pro WR Makes Bid to Join Browns After Watson Signing

Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns

Getty Head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns looks on against the Denver Broncos in the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 21, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio.

After trading for superstar QB Deshaun Watson Friday, the Cleveland Browns have instantly become an attractive destination to pass catchers throughout the NFL. Just hours after the deal got done, one of the best and most embattled wide receivers among that group had already made a public pitch to join the team.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Antonio Brown hasn’t played a snap since refusing to enter a game against the New York Jets in Week 17 then running off the field and out of the league. It was the most recent in a string of tumultuous stops for Brown, who also had odd and hasty fallings out with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Las Vegas Raiders (then in Oakland) and the New England Patriots. But Brown appears to believe the fifth time could be the charm, taking to social media Friday and reeling off a series of tweets in an effort to land that fifth go-round in Cleveland.

“Cleveland Antonio Browns,” he wrote. “C-A-B.”

Brown then followed that with a bit of toilet humor, literally.

“Take the Browns to SuperBowl,” he tweeted. “Not ToiletBowl.”

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Browns Remade Offense in Days With Trades For Watson, Cooper

Deshaun Watson

GettyFormer Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson was traded to the Cleveland Browns on Friday, March 18, 2022.

Even if Brown’s was not the most eloquent messaging Twitter has ever seen, the intent behind it was quite clear.

Cleveland has remade its offense in less than a week, trading for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper on Saturday, March 12, just six days before luring Watson to town to replace Baker Mayfield. Couple those two with running back Nick Chubb and tight end David Njoku and all of a sudden the Browns have one of the most explosive rosters in football, despite ranking 20th in points scored and 18th in total offense last season.

Brown would slot in perfectly opposite Cooper, and Cleveland would likely be able to find contract value in any deal with the wideout, who has been branded a professional pariah for his erratic and disruptive behavior spanning several seasons. Brown has earned less than $5 million over the last two years, per Spotrac, and would not be bargaining from a position of strength considering how his most recent NFL stint ended.

The risk may well be worth the reward if Cleveland could bring Brown in on a small, one-year deal that would be simple to dump if the relationship didn’t work out for whatever reason. Brown played in just seven games last season due to injury but amassed 42 catches for 545 yards and four TDs in those contests. Extrapolated out over a full 17-game schedule, Brown is still performing at, or at least near, a Pro Bowl level.

Browns Spending Big Money in 2022

Getty ImagesDefensive end Jadeveon Clowney of the Cleveland Browns has been offered a two-year, $24 million deal to return to the team in 2022.

Securing a player like Brown at a low cost is the kind of move Cleveland will need to make around the edges now that it has invested so much in its core players.

Watson’s deal, which the Browns bumped up in order to sway his decision, comes in at $230 million over five years with every dollar guaranteed. Beyond his $46 million per season, defensive end Myles Garrett makes $25 million annually. Cooper’s contract is $20 million per year, while Chubb makes $12 million a season.

On Friday, the Browns offered edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney a two-year deal worth $24 million. Cornerback Denzel Ward is also scheduled to make $13.3 million on the fifth and final year of his rookie deal, though the Browns are expected to extend him via a long-term contract at a higher annual salary.

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