Browns Must Consider Firing Andrew Berry After Watson Debacle, Mayfield’s Success

The Cleveland Browns have made impressive strides over the past two seasons, though they’ve done so in spite of quarterback Deshaun Watson and not because of him.

The Browns have progressed to an 11-win playoff team over the past two years, but general manager Andrew Berry’s deal to acquire Watson from the Houston Texans now appears clearly, and by far, the worst transaction in franchise history.

As Cleveland heads into the 2024 offseason — largely hamstrung by the albatross that is Watson’s $230 million fully-guaranteed contract and handcuffed to a quarterback who has started 12 games across two campaigns — the organization should at least consider parting ways with Berry over the managerial malpractice he committed in the trade for Watson.

The notion that the collective choices Berry made to acquire Watson equate to a fireable offense is supported in no small part by the success that quarterback Baker Mayfield had with the Tampa Buccaneers in 2023 — a division champion that fell just short of a berth in next weekend’s NFC Championship Game in a one-score loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday night, January 21.

The Browns were a solid team all season, though most of their success came on the back of the defense, which was elite at home, but often somewhere between gettable and legitimately suspect against quality opponents on the road. The aforementioned Texans beat down the Browns over Super Wild Card Weekend in Houston, outscoring the franchise they fleeced into taking Watson by a score of 45-14.

Watson didn’t play in that game. Instead, he watched from the sideline due to a season-ending shoulder surgery he underwent in November. Watson started only six games for the Browns this season, and while he went 5-1 as the starter, his numbers were mediocre at best while Cleveland’s offense fell far short of overwhelming. The QB completed just 61.4% of his passes for 1,115 yards, 7 TDs and 4 INTs, per Pro Football Reference.

Watson started just six games in 2022, his first year with the Browns, due to an 11-game NFL suspension following more than two dozen accusations of sexual misconduct — off-field issues that Berry and the rest of Cleveland’s front office largely ignored or tried to sidestep during and after their acquisition of the polarizing quarterback.

While Watson had been a three-time consecutive Pro Bowler in Houston between 2018-20, Berry and company also ignored the fact that the Texans sidelined the QB for the entirety of the 2021 campaign (with pay) after he demanded a trade and then the accusations began piling up.

Watson is going to cost $64 million against the Browns’ salary cap sheet in each of the next three seasons and carries an average annual cost of $46 million across the five-year contract, running from 2022 through the 2026 campaign.



Gideon Canice

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