Well, the dust has finally seemed to settle here in Cleveland. With the 2022 free agency period quite possibly being the greatest offseason of all time for the Cleveland Browns, many fans are skeptical as to what will ultimately happen in the coming season. Will it be a repeat of the 2021 season where expectations were high and the play ended up being mediocre or will it be like 2020 where we shock the league and make a deep playoff run?
Whatever the future holds for this franchise in the upcoming season two moves have forced the NFL to stop thinking about the saying “Just the same old Browns”. Having locked up Deshaun Watson and Amari Cooper for the foreseeable future, was it worth pursuing these guys? Allow me to explain both of these starting with the Deshaun Watson trade.
Deshaun Watson (B-)
From strictly a football standpoint, this trade was 100% worth every asset given up. For starters, no players were traded away which means no loss of known commodities/talent. Sure three first-round picks plus two fourth-rounders and one third-rounder is a lot. But when you take a look back and think to yourself, how many top 12 quarterbacks in the prime of their career have become available to acquire? The list is concise and not to mention, fits the competitive timeline the Cleveland Browns have created for themselves.
The quarterback carousel is done. No more suffering through horrible quarterback play year in and year out. No more questioning whether or not this organization is worth cheering for. No more dumb head coaching changes or massively questionable top draft picks. Yes, Deshaun Watson carries baggage, and may the right decisions ultimately be made with his situation. But no more Cody Kessler, Josh McCown, RGIII comeback tour, and no more 28-year-old first-round draft bust Brandon Weeden. The misery is over and it feels extremely weird.
To have an absolute bonafide superstar quarterback who at his peak was and still can be a top-five quarterback in the league being under center for Cleveland for the next five seasons is more than worth any potential quarterback candidates that could never actually even pan out. Again, from a football standpoint, this trade is undoubtedly the best football move the Browns could have made for their franchise, and moves like these make general managers legendary.
Amari Cooper (A+)
As far as the Amari Cooper trade goes, another obvious worth it moves. People tend to forget how dominant Amari Cooper has been in the past seasons. He is one of those players that is so consistent with above-average play, it tends to just be overlooked. This is sad considering he was one of the deadliest threats in both Oakland and Dallas. With his top-tier route running IQ and his “nose to the grindstone” mentality, it is shocking how undervalued this move is being recognized. The six-time pro-bowler is going to ultimately take over as the clear best wide receiver the Browns have gone with since Josh Gordon.
Amari is bigger, stronger, faster, and just a better overall player than any wide receiver the organization has had in quite some time. Now that this team has a top-three running back, top-five quarterbacks, and top-seven wide receivers with the same offensive line/tight end group coupled with a bunch of young moldable playmakers, this team is going to shock multiple organizations.
Overall, I love this move for the Browns as well. This move was all-time based with Dallas becoming so drenched in salary cap purgatory that they had to make a tough decision. Swapping 6th rounders and giving Dallas a 5th rounder for a 27-year-old receiver who can be an all-pro in any given season is again, 100% worth it. Sure 20 million per season is a lot, but number one options don’t come cheap. Great move by Andrew Berry, I hope the statue building starts tomorrow.