Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Ravens owner openly critical of Deshaun Watson’s record-setting contract with Browns

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti put his name on a sentiment that many league executives reportedly feel as it relates to Deshaun Watson’s record-setting contract with the Browns. Bisciotti, speaking from the annual league meeting on Tuesday, was openly critical of the Browns’ decision to give Watson a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract. 

“It’s like, ‘damn, I wish they hadn’t guaranteed the whole contract,'” Bisciotti said, via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. “I don’t know that he should’ve been the first guy to get a fully guaranteed contract. 

“To me, that’s something that is groundbreaking, and it’ll make negotiations harder with others. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to play that game, you know? We shall see.”

Bisciotti’s comments follow CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora’s report detailing the ripple effects of Watson’s contract within NFL circles. La Canfora reported that the rest of the NFL is not happy with the precedent the Browns may have set with the contract as it relates to the quarterback market moving forward. 

Specifically, Watson’s deal may complicate matters for Bisciotti’s club with it comes to Lamar Jackson’s contract situation. When asked about Jackson’s contract, Bisciotti reiterated that Jackson does not appear to be in a hurry to discuss a new deal. The former league MVP is currently set to make just over $23 million this season after the Ravens picked up his fifth-year option last offseason. 

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“We’ll pay him when he’s ready,” Bisciotti said of Jackson, who last season was selected to his second Pro Bowl despite missing the season’s final five games with an ankle injury. “Without a QB you believe in, life (stinks) as an NFL owner and as a fan base. … We appreciate (Lamar). All I know is that his teammates love him and the front office loves him.”

While the transaction has undoubtedly created some ill will around the league, Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski stood by their decision while joining Watson in his first press conference as a member of the Browns organization last Friday. A majority of the questions during the presser were in regard to the 22 civil lawsuits against Watson alleging sexual assault and sexual misconduct during massage sessions. 

“We do have faith in him as a person,” Berry said of Watson. “If we didn’t get comfortable with Deshaun the person, it wouldn’t have mattered how talented he was. We wouldn’t have pursued the trade.”

“I think Deshaun is ready to make a position impact on this community,” Stefanski said. “I’m looking forward to this community getting to know Deshaun.” 

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