Though there have been 4 finalists for QB Deshaun Watson earlier than the Browns and Texans accomplished the blockbuster commerce that despatched the signal-caller to Cleveland, as many as 10 groups have been reportedly all in favour of Watson’s companies. In remarks he made following the commerce, Houston GM Nick Caserio wouldn’t say precisely what number of groups made inquiries, however he did be aware that the curiosity went past the Browns, Saints, Panthers and Falcons.
“I might say there was a good quantity of groups, however what we tried to do was convey the groups that had a reputable curiosity, and that was primarily based off the compensation that was offered,” Caserio stated, by way of Mike Florio of Professional Soccer Discuss. “I don’t wish to get into the precise quantity, however there was just a few extra, nevertheless many groups than what everyone was reporting in direction of the top.”
Caserio’s feedback verify what had been reported all alongside — solely golf equipment that have been keen to fulfill the Texans’ steep asking worth (three first-rounders and extra) have been granted permission to have an in-person assembly with Watson. Whereas that looks as if the one logical transfer in hindsight, it was fairly a masterstroke by Caserio. Had he allowed Watson to fulfill with all golf equipment, no matter proposed compensation, Watson might have determined to waive his no-trade clause for just one group, thereby undermining Caserio’s leverage. However as Florio observes, by having a “pre-qualifying” course of, Caserio assured that he would get what he wished earlier than Watson really bought a say in his subsequent vacation spot.
Per Florio, the Colts put feelers out to the Texans, however Caserio was not keen to deal Watson inside his division. Aaron Wilson of Professional Soccer Community studies that the Eagles remained all through the method, however Watson was unwilling to waive his no-trade clause for Philadelphia, largely as a result of he’s mates with Eagles QB Jalen Hurts and didn’t wish to take away Hurts’ beginning job. Wilson provides that the 49ers additionally positioned a name to the Texans final 12 months.
Caserio advised that studies on the Texans being all in favour of gamers in addition to picks in a Watson swap have been no less than considerably overstated, saying, “I might say aside from three first-round picks, I might say most likely the remainder of it was a little bit little bit of hypothesis.” Nonetheless, Wilson studies that if Houston swung a cope with the Falcons, Atlanta CB AJ Terrell would have been intriguing to Caserio, and if the Saints had been capable of purchase Watson, New Orleans OLs Erik McCoy and/or Cesar Ruiz may need been part of the package deal heading again to the Texans.
In the long run, the Browns, who have been initially believed to be out of the working for Watson, have been capable of purchase the three-time Professional Bowler as a result of they have been keen to present him a contract — 5 years for a fully-guaranteed $230M, which Wilson studies features a $45M signing bonus — that different groups weren’t comfy matching. We heard on the time the Cleveland-Houston deal was consummated that the monetary facet of the equation grew to become untenable for the Falcons and Panthers, and Wilson confirmed in a separate piece that Carolina was resistant to a completely assured pact.
Cleveland might have felt compelled to make such a daring strike due to an unsalvageable scenario with Baker Mayfield. Mayfield requested a commerce whereas the Browns’ courtship of Watson was ongoing, and when it appeared that Watson wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a transfer to northeast Ohio, the Browns indicated they might not accommodate the request. Nevertheless, as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com writes, Mayfield had no intentions of enjoying for the Browns in 2022 even when the membership had not acquired Watson, and that actuality might have compelled Cleveland’s hand.
In keeping with Cabot, the Browns had made it clear to Mayfield’s camp that they might pursue a top-flight QB this offseason, however that they have been content material to run it again with the No. 1 total decide of the 2018 draft if such a pursuit have been unsuccessful. As a result of it had been upfront with him about their intentions, the group believed it might ultimately clean issues over with Mayfield. As we heard final week, although, Mayfield declined proprietor Jimmy Haslam‘s supply to fly out to Mayfield’s residence to debate the scenario, which was a transparent indication that there was bother in paradise.
Cabot additional studies that the Watson scenario and the group’s feedback that it was in search of an “grownup” on the quarterback place — thus implying that Mayfield will not be, actually, an grownup — merely represented the ultimate straw. Mayfield was stated to have points with HC Kevin Stefanski‘s play-calling and scheme, and as Stefanski will retain play-calling duties in 2022, Mayfield was ready to skip the Browns’ offseason program and minicamp in an effort to power a commerce to a group that has an offense extra conducive to his ability set. As Mayfield is eligible without cost company in 2023, the upcoming season is clearly crucial for him, each from a monetary and on-field perspective.
We lately discovered that Mayfield would favor to be traded to the Colts. Cabot means that, if Indianapolis GM Chris Ballard is , he might require the Browns to pay no less than a few of Mayfield’s $18.9M wage, and since Cleveland has no alternative however to deal Mayfield at this level, the group’s leverage in that regard and when it comes to commerce compensation is pretty restricted.
Each Cabot and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Occasions verify that the Seahawks could also be all in favour of Mayfield however are genuinely excited by Drew Lock, who lately got here to Seattle within the commerce that despatched Russell Wilson to the Broncos. As for the Texans, Caserio was noncommittal when requested if Davis Mills, who began 11 video games as a rookie in 2021 and who confirmed marked enchancment down the stretch, would stay Houston’s QB1. Nonetheless, Mills is predicted to open the 2022 marketing campaign because the beginning signal-caller, regardless of Caserio’s feedback that the group is “ranging from scratch” at an important place in sports activities.