Amari Cooper is officially a Cleveland Brown after being traded by the Dallas Cowboys. What did this cost the Browns? A fifth round pick and sixth round pick swap. While that seems unbelievably low and really is for a number one wideout like Cooper, the Browns did pick up all of his contract which is $20 million per year for the next 3 years. That is a mighty big cap hit every year. However his numbers suggest that he should be worth it. Last year was his worst season in Dallas as he had 865 yards on 68 receptions and 8 TD's. That was a down year for Cooper. To put that into perspective from the Browns point of view, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones led the team in receiving yards with 597 and TE David Njoku led the team in receiving TD's with 4. That goes to show the impact Cooper could have on this offense. Amari Cooper at just 27 years old, has had five 1,000 yard receiving seasons. He has also made the Pro Bowl 4 times. He is a true number 1 receiver. which is something that the Browns desperately needed.
This trade does not come without consequences however. With such a big contract coming in, it means that we may need to say goodbye to some other players on the roster, none more beloved by Browns fans than Jarvis Landry. His production over the last two seasons has been in a steep decline and he is owed a staggering $17 million this year, which is hard to accept considering his stats. However his leadership is what has made him into one of Cleveland's most beloved athletes. At the end of the day though, all sports are a business, and hopefully the Browns are in the business of getting back to winning. Some other names that could be released or traded from the Browns roster include center JC Tretter, backup QB Case Keenum & OLB Mack Wilson Jr. There is also a list of players whose contracts can be restructured to give the team more cap space and players bigger signing bonuses (which wouldn't count against the salary cap), and I'm sure will happen sooner rather than later.
The one thing that all Browns fans can rest assure on is that GM Andrew Berry knows how to clear cap space the right way. He is very good at getting quality players in free agency, and filling out the depth chart. He definitely has his work cut out for him this year as the Browns still need more help at WR, as well as on the defensive line, and the linebacking corps.
However one can't help but feel as if this is just the first domino to fall in a series of moves that may change the makeup of the Cleveland Browns completely. Could this just be one move to make the Browns better? Sure. However over the last few days there has been one name that keeps coming up as someone the Browns are keeping an eye on and may have even offered a trade for. A name so big that the Browns we currently know right now would be completely overhauled. That player is Deshaun Watson. Watson didn't play last year due to legal issues, but has since been clear of any criminal activities. When on the field Watson, who is only 26 years old is a dominant quarterback, with many analysts and sports journalists putting him in their top 5 QB's in the entire NFL.
What would it take to trade for Deshaun Watson? The short answer is a whole hell of a lot. Reports are coming out of teams such as the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also interested, with The Eagles reportedly offering all three of their first round picks in this years draft in addition to some draft capital next year as well as their current starting QB Jalen Hurts. That still wasn't enough to land them Watson. It looks like the Houston Texans will hold out for the biggest haul they can get and listen to any team that has an offer. Houston has also made it known that in addition to multiple first round picks they also want some key young players. The Browns reportedly already made a play for Watson that many have deemed "a weak offer". Could the Browns put together a trade package that really would land them DeShaun Watson? Yes. I believe the Browns have the depth in certain areas to offer a combination of players and picks that would land them Watson. The bigger question is should they?
While there is no doubt that DeShaun Watson is a talented QB and very well may be a top 5 player at that position, is it worth trading away key skill players as well as a plethora of picks? I'm honestly undecided. Watson could very well be a game changer for the Browns. The amount of players that we would need to give up in addition to the picks though could be staggering. I've seen names such as Kareem Hunt, Denzel Ward, and JC Tretter just to name a few brought up in these trade talks. While I won't go into detail, the fact that the Browns still have a starting QB who almost led us to the AFC championship game two years ago in Baker Mayfield is still on the roster. While his play was below average at best last year, he was dealing with a non throwing shoulder injury that required surgery this off season. Is Watson an upgrade over Baker? Yes, and with the right receivers around Watson, he could be a massive upgrade. Lets not forget Watson was the league leader in passing for two straight years. It's just hard for me to imagine all of the picks and players the Cleveland Browns would have to give up. We were so close to this cities dream of a Super Bowl just two short years ago and to think that giving Houston some of those players that got us there on the hopes that Watson is the missing link may not be the right thinking. I trust whatever the Browns front office decides however. They have my full backing. Remember not long ago the Browns were 0-16, and now we are looking for ways to get back to making a deep playoff run with the goal of bringing that elusive Super Bowl to our city and fan base that has been starved for the right to say we are the Champions.
Stay tuned over the next few days and weeks as more info becomes available...
Make sure you check out all of our podcasts at Believeland Media LLC! Click on the images below to access.