Browns Give Up Key Pieces in Proposed Trade for Star QB

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Getty Images Browns stars Odell Beckham Jr. and Baker Mayfield.

The Cleveland Browns have been openly ecstatic about quarterback Baker Mayfield and his future with the franchise. However, rumors continue to pop up about the team’s possible interest in disgruntled Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson.

The latest mock trade proposal that has the Browns landing Watson comes from ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, who admits some of his ideas aren’t all that plausible.

Nonetheless, Barnwell proposed that the Browns trade Mayfield, star receiver Odell Beckham Jr, as well as the 26th overall pick in 2021, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick for Watson.

Barnwell argues that while Mayfield has improved, he’s not on the same level as Watson, who is signed through the 2025 season and is coming off a year where he led the NFL in passing yards.

“It’s tough for me to imagine the Browns hitting the reset button on their core after their first playoff win in 26 years, but Watson might be worth it,” Barnwell wrote. “The Texans would get two first-rounders and both their quarterback of the future and a possible replacement for DeAndre Hopkins in Beckham, who is coming off a torn ACL.”

Watson Landing in Cleveland Extremely Unlikely

Getty ImagesBrowns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

As the odds indicate, Watson ending up in Cleveland is a massive longshot. The Browns are +10,000 to land Watson, per BetMGM, 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.

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. 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. Houston hired Baltimore Ravens assistant David Culley as their new head coach on Wednesday. However, it was reported by ESPN prior to the hire that Watson wants out regardless of who the head coach is.

Baker Mayfield Leading Culture Shift for Browns

The Browns selected Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 with the hopes that he could change the culture in Cleveland, making the proud, but long-struggling franchise a winner.

While he’s had his ups and downs, he certainly has played a large role in doing just that. Mayfield passed for 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns and a career-low eight interceptions last season. He was especially sharp down the stretch.

“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.”

The Browns can either pick up Mayfield’s fifth-year option this offseason, locking him in the next two seasons, or ink him to a long-term extension.

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