Peter King Reveals NFL Teams Are Displeased With Deshaun Watson’s Massive Contract From Browns

The Cleveland Browns made a huge splash in the offseason, acquiring Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans. They gave up a handsome package of six draft picks in exchange for the Pro Bowl quarterback and a 2024 sixth-rounder. While Watson is a significant upgrade over Baker Mayfield, not everyone is excited about the move.

The Browns recently held the introductory press conference for their new franchise quarterback. However, two people were missing — Jimmy and Dee Haslam. According to NBC Sports insider Peter King, the Browns owners aren’t exactly in the good graces of front offices around the NFL.

Watson’s status for the 2022 season is still uncertain, yet Cleveland gave him a massive payday. King suggests that didn’t go over well at the league meetings.

Peter King suggests NFL teams don’t approve of Browns’ Deshaun Watson contract

The Cleveland Browns went all-in on Deshaun Watson. Not only did they send the Texans six draft picks, but they also gave Watson an insane extension. The two sides agreed to terms on a five-year, $230 million deal, with all the money guaranteed.

The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback has had a tumultuous past year and some change after serious allegations of sexual misconduct. That’s why Peter King suggests the lucrative contract is so shocking. In a recent appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, the NBC Sports insider reveals Cleveland’s NFL counterparts are not happy.

“There are a lot of owners and club people who think it’s gross to pay a guy the biggest contract in NFL history when he’s got 22 civil cases involving sexual impropriety hanging over his head,” King said. “I don’t think there’s any justification for this. Instead of saying we’ll give you $230 million, it’d be far better to say, “Hey, let’s see what happens when all these cases are adjudicated.”

King believes many other owners and top brass around the league feel like there’s no integrity in the move.

“There’s not a soul in the world who can tell anybody that this is all going to turn out roses,” he added. “This is a risky play by the Haslams and the Cleveland Browns.”

The Pro Bowler’s status for 2022 is still up in the air

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson reacts during press conference
Deshaun Watson listens to questions during Cleveland Browns introductory press conference | Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Paying Deshaun Watson $230 million in guaranteed money given his recent legal trouble is a bold move by the Cleveland Browns. According to Peter King, one NFL executive said the contract “stinks to high heaven.” As King suggested, the Browns have ruffled some feathers. However, it’s not a sure thing that this pans out perfectly for Cleveland, either.

Although no grand jury has found enough evidence to bring up criminal charges, Watson still has 22 civil suits against him. The allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are still unresolved.

Beyond the legal ramifications, Watson could also face discipline from the NFL. Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t given much away, but a suspension is not out of the realm of possibilities.

The Clemson product already missed the entire 2021 season. If he misses another full season, or even half the 2022 season, it’s difficult for the Browns to justify giving him all that guaranteed money.

Watson changed the market for other quarterbacks

Deshaun Watson’s contract from the Browns was controversial for several reasons. The legal aspect aside, the deal completely shifted the quarterback market.

Multiple young stars at the position are looking for new deals from their respective teams. Kyler Murray (Cardinals) and Lamar Jackson (Ravens) are on deck. Meanwhile, Joe Burrow (Bengals) and Justin Herbert (Chargers) could be expecting long-term contract extensions in the next two years.

For Watson to get that much money with his status up in the air, teams don’t have much leverage when negotiating with their quarterbacks. Jackson is a former MVP. There’s no way he doesn’t sign a massive deal himself. Not to mention, players will come to expect fully guaranteed contracts.

General manager Andrew Berry and the Haslams set a precedent. The rest of the league will likely have to follow suit. Deshaun Watson and the Browns opened the door for some other quarterbacks to receive massive paydays in the near future.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. 

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