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Rob Oller: Cleveland Browns trade for Deshaun Watson endangers fanbase loyalty

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The Browns and Deshaun Watson have agreed to a new five-year deal worth $230 million guaranteed.

Let the Cleveland Browns politicize the quarterback position and turn a loyal, unified fan base against themselves by trading Deshaun Watson.

What are you talking about, Oliver? The fans of the browns, woof, woof, they are united forever. Stop throwing grenades in a situation that is not explosive.

Isn’t it explosive? Tell that to the fans I’ve heard from in the last couple of days who are upset that Cleveland agreed to sign Watson to a guaranteed $230 million contract. Some, perhaps many, have shed his longtime allegiance to a franchise they now see as hypocritical after the Browns signed a quarterback facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct during massage sessions. .

not two. Twenty two. I’m with Marla Ridenour on this. The longtime columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal, who has covered the Browns for three decades, attacked team co-owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam last week with a body shot above the belt.

“I believe in second chances,” Ridenour wrote, referencing Watson. “But I have to side with 22 women now, even if the Browns don’t.”


Is that the majority opinion among Browns fans? Probably not. I guess most are quick to point out that Watson will not face criminal charges after a Texas grand jury refused to indict the 26-year-old. If that is his view, all I ask is to be consistent with his extension of grace.

The Browns and Deshaun Watson have agreed to a new five-year deal worth $230 million guaranteed.

The Browns and Deshaun Watson have agreed to a new five-year deal worth $230 million guaranteed.

Remember when, as a Browns fan, you called out Ben Roethlisberger over a couple of sexual assault allegations against the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback in 2009-10? Well, what suddenly changed for you to hug Watson?

I know. Watson plays for the Browns, not the evil black and gold empire.

Hypocrisy aside, one unfortunate aspect of the Cleveland-for-Watson trade is the resulting debate about which side of the aisle you’re on. Check that out, it’s sad that a hallway had to be created in the first place. The Haslams have divided their supporters into two distinct and familiar camps: those who think mountains are being built on mounds of sand and those who demand justice for battered women.

Instead of arguing about whether Baker Mayfield was the best answer at quarterback (he wasn’t) or whether Nick Chubb needs more carries (he does), the Dawg Pounders are taking sides with their team’s decision-making. team in regards to allegations of sexual abuse. assault. All for the sake of having a better shot at a Super Bowl.

If that sounds too preachy, remember that the Haslams themselves have been lecturing on ethics in the workplace and morality in the marketplace. The Browns have pushed hard for inclusion, valued character and demanded accountability. They were honored during Super Bowl week with the inaugural John B. Wooten Award, given to NFL teams that embody diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. The Cleveland ownership has made it clear that women and minorities are important within the organization.

The Browns and Deshaun Watson have agreed to a new five-year deal worth $230 million guaranteed.

The Browns and Deshaun Watson have agreed to a new five-year deal worth $230 million guaranteed.

Women outside the organization? Not that much.

Stop pushing a political agenda, Oller. Stay with football.

As you wish. Strictly from X and O’s point of view, the Watson trade makes sense, mainly because Mayfield was unlikely to deliver a Super Bowl title. One of Mayfield’s intractable problems is his height. Defenses have figured out how to use his size disadvantage against him, charging one side to force him to the other, which reduces his field of vision as he comes out of the pocket.

Watson is a physical upgrade, but enough to make a substantial difference in the standings? Mayfield is 29-30 as a starter, with one win in the playoffs. Watson went 28-25 in Houston over five seasons, also with a playoff win. He went 4-12 in his final year with the Texans.

Sound like a quarterback worth spending an NFL-record $230 million in guaranteed money on? Aaron Rodgers just signed a contract worth $150 million guaranteed. On the other hand, it’s just money, and the Haslams have a lot of it. What they lack is the three first-round picks they sent to the Texans, but even that is less of a sacrifice than it seems. The Browns gave up picks but kept their bodies, with no players involved in the trade, which is why the trade doesn’t sit well with many Houston fans.

Meanwhile, the Browns get what they think is a true franchise quarterback, though he faces a possible multigame suspension this season. But what else is new? Not that Cleveland is the first team to take a chance on a player at risk. The Browns even have a history of doing so, signing Kareem Hunt in 2019 while the running back was under investigation for assaulting a woman in 2018. The NFL ultimately suspended Hunt for eight games.

Nobody is perfect, right? That’s one way of looking at it. But the Haslams have created a second track, where angry and disenchanted fans see the Watson trade as selling their souls for a shot at Super Bowl glory.

I never thought I’d see an “us vs. them” mentality within Browns Nation. That kind of thinking has always been reserved for the Steelers, Raven, Bengals and Art Modell. But here we are.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Deshaun Watson: Cleveland Browns NFL trade divides fans over quarterback

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