The Cleveland Browns go ALL IN on Deshaun Watson, a risky gamble that could pay off big or blow up in your hands.
The risk is huge from a public relations standpoint and is something the Browns will have to deal with and have begun to do so since Watson's introductory press conference, after questions were constant about the sexual harassment and misconduct lawsuits against him.
Athletically, the Browns are confident that going ALL IN with QB Deshaun Watson is the right bet to end the state of eternal mediocrity with which the franchise was reborn.
Incredible as it may seem, the Cleveland Browns have not always been synonymous of a losing team, of accumulation of names in a quarterback jersey without being able to hit the jackpot and find the leader that will lead them out of obscurantism.
The names pile up with consummate failures starting with Tim Couch, going through Johny Manziel and Baker Mayfield, with a long list that seems endless in the midst of those who tried, but failed along the way.
There was a time when the Browns regularly advanced to the playoffs and fought for the American Conference championship, in fact, in a span of five years they lost three times in the AFC championship game, and it was in the Super Bowl era.
Not to mention the time when they dominated the prehistory of professional football, with seven NFL championships in a decade, five of them consecutive. Of course, for that, we would have to go back to the years between 1946 and 1955, another era.
Since the NFL decided to revive the franchise in 1999, after a four-year disappearance, the Browns have only had three seasons with a winning record and twice advanced to the playoffs, without making it past the divisional round.
With Kevin Stefanski entering his third season as head coach, it appears the pieces are in place for the team to transcend. His first year in charge was encouraging, with an 11-5 record, a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild card round 48-37 and a scare against the eventual AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, who were defeated in Super Bowl LV.
There was a regression on the team last year and a lot had to do with Baker Mayfield being depleted by a shoulder injury, which provided the perfect pretext for a quarterback selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft who hasn't been able to be the difference, despite being surrounded by talent.
In fact, the 2018 generation of the draft arguably more than met the goal of generating at least two undisputed starters. For the Browns, Nick Chubb and Denzel Ward are counted as the unmovable players. Now Cleveland is hoping to find a fit for Mayfield on another team via trade and try to take at least a third- or fourth-round pick in the draft.
If the Browns had taken a gamble with Kareem Hunt because of his off-field background, now with Deshaun Watson, they doubled down on that gamble. With the arm of Watson, who led the NFL in yards per pass in 2020 with 4,823, in addition to totaling 33 touchdown passes and only 7 interceptions, and the arrival of Amari Cooper in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys, all signs point to incredible potential in the offense to reach the next level.
Cleveland's offense was 18th in the NFL last year because of the air attack, which was 27th in the league averaging 198.3 yards per game, when the ground offense was fourth best, with potential to be No. 1, at 145.4 yards on average per game.
The defense has everything in place to be the counterbalance and shoulder the responsibility, they were the fifth best in the NFL last year and if they maintain that level, and the offense works better with the arrival of Watson and Cooper, it's possible, I'm just saying it's possible, that the gamble will work, and it will be worth it to have gone ALL IN.
We must not forget that the resolutions of the 22 civil lawsuits against Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson and the potential punishment that the NFL may impose on the quarterback for violating the code of personal conduct are still pending.
In sports, the Browns are a few pieces away from being a contending team and with the possibility of leaving aside the mediocrity that has accompanied them since their rebirth. The serious problem is in the forms or in the justification of the means to achieve an end.