As each day goes by, the fanbase loses faith in ownership.
However, when the trade for Watson was first made, ownership thought he could become the future of the team.
But nearly four months later, the trade has proven to be a disaster for the franchise.
Not only is their 2022 season in limbo, but the future of the Browns franchise also hangs in the balance.
However, many fans question if Jimmy Haslam has tanked the future of Cleveland with this one trade.
The High Price Cleveland Is Paying For Getting Watson
This trade deal has cost Cleveland in more ways than draft picks and money.
The image of the franchise has suffered since the former Houston Texans QB came to Cleveland.
It’s so bad that even one NFL player feels Watson will wear a different type of orange.
What orange will Watson play in next season?🤔 pic.twitter.com/AsmlL4XuA4
— NFC North News (@NFCNorthNewss) June 19, 2022
However, what makes things horrible for Cleveland is the claim the team did their due diligence before making the trade.
Few things, per sources w/in #NFL:
1)#Browns been investigating Deshaun Watson/everything around him well before Friday
2)Baker Mayfield’s camp was aware club would do due diligence on any top-flight QB who came available
3)Browns officials feel Tues meeting w/ Watson went well
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 16, 2022
After the trade, even more cases came up with Watson.
However, it was also seen that Cleveland didn’t do what they said they did with Watson.
Also referenced in lawsuit: “Despite claims that it did extensive due diligence, not one question was asked by Watson’s new employer (#Browns) of the victims about Watson’s alleged behavior. No effort was made to obtain the police file, or speak to the investigating officers…” https://t.co/fyRo2Vmykn
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) June 27, 2022
So the Browns, in fact, didn’t do their due diligence investigating him, ignoring the red flags around him.
While he isn’t facing criminal charges, he has civil cases against him.
In some of those cases, he’s already settled with the victims.
That has led many to believe he’s guilty of everything these victims have accused him of.
This now further hurts the Browns’ image, as 20 of his cases saw him making a settlement.
The Future Of Cleveland Is In Question Now
Outside the public relations disaster that the Watson trade has brought Cleveland, it also took away their future draft picks.
Houston got three first-round picks, two fourth-round picks, and a third-round pick all to give Cleveland one colossal headache, and a 2024 sixth-round pick.
Had the Browns held off on him, they could have got a quarterback to replace Baker Mayfield in 2023.
However, they no longer have that shot.
The Browns gave up six young players of their future for their current quarterback and whoever they get in 2024.
Instead of building the franchise with what they have, they made the choice to build on someone that has proven to be more trouble than Mayfield.
While Mayfield was immature, Watson clearly breaks that glass ceiling.
But Haslam felt this was the best move for the team.
However, each new victim and every new story will continue to prove him wrong with the trade.
It will be difficult for the Browns to recover from this nightmare.
Even if Watson gets to play, his past will forever foreshadow the team.
If he plays, and doesn’t prove to be a help to Cleveland, then the future is truly lost for the Browns.
They gave up too much for a player with too much baggage.
Trading for Jimmy Garoppolo or trying to work with Mayfield would have proven to be a better move for Cleveland.