Deshaun Watson has finally made his decision. After a long deliberation where he was choosing between several teams, the soon-to-be-former Texans quarterback has decided that he will waive his no-trade clause to play for the Browns. Now, Cleveland and Houston are hammering out the details to execute the deal, which will reportedly be centered around a trio of first-round picks among other selections that’ll be heading back to the Texans in exchange for Watson.
This was a rather stunning decision by Watson as he reportedly eliminated the Browns from contention before this change of heart, leaving the Falcons and Saints as the two finalists. Since then, he’s changed his mind and will be landing with Cleveland, which is slated to give him a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract.
Not only has this shaken the entire NFL to its core, but it’s also dramatically moved the Browns’ odds for the 2022 season. At Caesars Sportsbook, Cleveland’s odds have moved from +4000 to win Super Bowl LVII before the Watson decision to +1600 after it. To put it in better context, the Browns moved from having the same odds as the Minnesota Vikings to win the Super Bowl to being tied with the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos.
Currently, the Browns are looking up at the Buffalo Bills (+700), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+850), Kansas City Chiefs (+850), Green Bay Packers (+1100), Los Angeles Rams (+1200), and San Francisco 49ers (+1400) as the Super Bowl favorites. Cleveland is also now the favorite to come out of the AFC North at +180. They are followed by the Baltimore Ravens (+210), Cincinnati Bengals (+210), and Pittsburgh Steelers (+1000).
While this move to land Watson may make some folks rush to the ticket window to place a wager on the Browns, patience may be the wiser path. After all, Watson could still face punishment by the NFL due to the outstanding civil lawsuits against the quarterback where 22 different women have alleged sexual assault or misconduct. The NFL is still investigating the matter and by the way Waston has structured his new contract it does appear like he could be bracing for a suspension of some kind.
Naturally, that could hurt the Browns in 2022, so going all-in on the club as a knee-jerk reaction to this deal may be an even riskier bet than originally thought.