Watson to Cleveland

JM3

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Now I'm reading Watson really liked the Browns, yet they were the first to be eliminated per reporting. Wondering if Watson's camp played all these teams like a fiddle, extracting the most they could from Cleveland, who he had picked all along.

And now the lovable loser Browns are no more, bit of a sad moment from a neutral fan's standpoint.
Couldn't imagine he'd rather be in Cleveland than Atl/NO.
 

Ralphwiggum

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When you have a chance to give up 3 first round picks and $230 million for a guy with 22 accusations of sexual misconduct you just can't pass that up. Fucking gross.
 

Garshaparra

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So what happens if the NFL suspends him for the '22 season?
Suspended players don't count against the roster or salary cap, and their teams don't pay game checks. Suspended players also must return any bonuses paid out for those missed games on a pro-rata basis. This was detailed a few years ago when Zeke got suspended. https://cowboyswire.usatoday.com/2017/08/11/dallas-cowboys-ezekiel-elliott-suspension-salary-cap-impact-implications/

edit: one other key citation from the Zeke article above:

In addition, Elliott loses all of the guarantee remaining on his deal. He will still get paid for all games he plays, but those amounts are no longer assured should injury happen, or if the team chooses to walk away from him (which they won’t).
It's not clear if this was specific to Zeke's rookie contract, or whether such a clause is typical, but this would be a substantial out for the Browns. I would be truly shocked if Watson's not suspended for at least 6 games, and if so, whether this means his contract goes from fully guaranteed to game-by-game.
 
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rodderick

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It's a ton of money but I don't see any reason to freak out over guarantees: QBs will make every penny of their contracts, especially young ones.

I wish the Browns FO luck selling this move to their fanbase. Maybe Watson hits the ground running and everyone forgets how much of a shitbag he is, but I wouldn't count on it. This deal feels gross.
 

Oil Can Dan

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Just heard on Sirius that his base salary for 2022 is $2M. So if he's suspended for the whole season (yeah right) he'd only lose that much.
 

nolasoxfan

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Was that already in place or done as a workaround to a potential suspension. If the latter, double gross.
I think double gross covers it. Anyone else imagining Watson twirling a bar-handle mustache, while looking at himself in the mirror?
 
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soxhop411

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Petagine in a Bottle

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Wow, that’s even more gross. Let’s say he’s suspended for the year- they’d still owe him $230m, he wouldn’t have played for two years, and they’d have no QB for the 22-23 season?
 

djbayko

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Was that already in place or done as a workaround to a potential suspension. If the latter, double gross.
It's gross but also difficult to imagine Watson agreeing to anything less, knowing what's coming. The gross thing about this whole thing is not one, but multiple aggressive suitors. Everything after that is just part of the territory.
 

Marciano490

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I think double gross covers it. Any one else imagining Watson twirling a bar-handle mustache, while looking at himself in the mirror?
Like part of his prior deal somehow or did he and the Cleveland Shits really sit down at a table and negotiate a deal around the premise this dude might be suspended a year for sexual assault, but shouldn’t suffer financially for it?
 

SoxinSeattle

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I always rooted for the hapless Browns because of there dedicated and long suffering fan base. Now I hope they continue along the dumpster fire path forever and that Baker Mayfield becomes the next Tom Brady. As long as he doesn't play for the Colts that is.

Just. Fucking. Gross.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I have wanted the Browns to succeed because it is a great and tortured fanbase. But that goodwill is on hold until Watson is gone. I understand the front offices are paid to win, but yuck.
 

BusRaker

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Home Depot is the real loser here. Well I used to kind of pull for Cleveland when it didn't affect the Pats. That's obviously out the window now. $230 million and 3 first rounders? I know he was good but ...

Hello Cleveland
 

nolasoxfan

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Like part of his prior deal somehow or did he and the Cleveland Shits really sit down at a table and negotiate a deal around the premise this dude might be suspended a year for sexual assault, but shouldn’t suffer financially for it?
The Tweet reads like the latter, but I don't think anyone will ever have proof of what you describe.

Edit: TV narrator: "It's exactly what @Marciano490 described..."
 

cornwalls@6

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At this point the NFL will deserve the PR shitshow it gets from This.
I wonder how those domestic violence and sexual assault organizations feel about being used by the NFL for its “NOMORE” PR campaign when it’s now clear that those were just lip service after the NFL tried to “clean up its image” after the Ray Rice stuff.
It'll be a fly on their windshield, unfortunately. The Browns will sell a redemption narrative about how's taking steps to become a better, more mature guy, and once they start winning games, none of their fans will give a shit. League-wide, advocacy groups will, and should, loudly protest. But, that won't even move the needle at all in terms of ratings, corporate partnerships, and overall popularity. They're as close to being completely bullet proof as a thing can be.
 

Cellar-Door

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Was that already in place or done as a workaround to a potential suspension. If the latter, double gross.
His existing deal had a $35M base salary.
CLE gave him a new contract for a lot more guaranteed money, but made this year $1M salary (forfeited in suspensions) and the rest bonuses.
 

djbayko

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Ralphwiggum

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I can’t believe that they structured the deal so he’s not out anything if he’s suspended year one. That is disgraceful. Fuck the Browns.
 

Marciano490

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Sign an accused rapist, but make it extra horrible. I guess it saves them the pretense of pretending he’s grown and is willing to be held accountable for his actions.
 

macal

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One thing the NFL can do to counter is spend the next year “investigating” then slap him with a 17 game suspension in 2023. Not going to happen, but would almost negate the Brady fiasco in my opinion of them.
 

radsoxfan

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I can’t believe that they structured the deal so he’s not out anything if he’s suspended year one. That is disgraceful. Fuck the Browns.
I agree with F the Browns.

But isn't it common for players on these long term deals to get massive signing bonuses and very small 1st year salaries? Gives the player a lot of money year 1 but helps spread the cap hit over many years.

I'm sure this is much more extreme than most, but maybe they will hide behind that as the reasoning?

Even if you totally ignore the off the field stuff (hard to of course), giving up 3 first round picks and 230M over 5 years totally guaranteed seems like a MASSIVE on field gamble. Is Watson really that good?
 

Oil Can Dan

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It’s an obvious maneuver to circumvent a likely punishment from the NFL. How much power does the league have to levy a fine of their choosing here? For one, it’s the right thing to do, and for two, this could set a dangerous precedent. Like why wouldn’t the Falcons have reworked Calvin Ridley’s contract so that instead of his salary being $11m in 2022 it’s magically $1m with a team option for 2023 at say $15m? The Falcons and Ridley knew this was under investigation well before the punishment came out.

Where’s the line?
 

Average Game James

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It’s an obvious maneuver to circumvent a likely punishment from the NFL. How much power does the league have to levy a fine of their choosing here? For one, it’s the right thing to do, and for two, this could set a dangerous precedent. Like why wouldn’t the Falcons have reworked Calvin Ridley’s contract so that instead of his salary being $11m in 2022 it’s magically $1m with a team option for 2023 at say $15m? The Falcons and Ridley knew this was under investigation well before the punishment came out.

Where’s the line?
I mean, to radsoxfan’s point, it’s not at all uncommon for contracts to be written with low base salaries in year 1, both to limit the out of pocket for owners and lower the initial cap hit. Let’s not forget Brady restructured before the 2016 season, getting a $28 million signing bonus and lowering his base to $1 million for 2016 and 2017 and reducing his lost earnings for the Deflategate suspension to only $250k. I mean, yes, fuck Cleveland and Watson, but it’s hard to call a pretty normal contract structure an “obvious circumvention” of a potential NFL punishment.

Edit: to be more clear, I mean it’s hard to call it an “obvious circumvention” in a manner where you could make a reasonable rule around it, particularly in a case like this where there isn’t even a suspension yet. I guess the cleanest approach would be to also fine a pro-rated portion of the signing bonus, but even that gets squirrelly with either void years or obvious fake years on the end of so many deals.
 
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soxhop411

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Here is the thing. (And a sad one at that.). It seems the NFL will only “act” when the PR backlash becomes to great. For all we know, if the Ray Rice video never became public, I am now starting to think that He would have never been punished.

Same in this case. I feel that the NFL is only going to act if the PR/ sponsorship backlash becomes to great for the NFL to ignore.

which itself is grotesque, that it would need to reach that level for the NFL to “do something”

Like, we all can see now that the “NOMORE” Campaign that the NFL ran was nothing more than a disingenuous PR. they really do not give one shit about women or anyone else.
 

Ed Hillel

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I agree with F the Browns.

But isn't it common for players on these long term deals to get massive signing bonuses and very small 1st year salaries? Gives the player a lot of money year 1 but helps spread the cap hit over many years.

I'm sure this is much more extreme than most, but maybe they will hide behind that as the reasoning?

Even if you totally ignore the off the field stuff (hard to of course), giving up 3 first round picks and 230M over 5 years totally guaranteed seems like a MASSIVE on field gamble. Is Watson really that good?
Kraft actually restructured Brady's deal so his Deflategate suspension would do the minimum financial damage. I think they also got his salary down to one million.

Personally, I will leave the moral aspect out of these deals. It's such a big rabbit hole, and in a year or so, everybody seems to move on anyway, more often than not. This stuff should be litigated in court rooms imo, though if the NFL chooses to suspend someone based on their policies, so be it. Even that aside, this seems like an insane overpay. This seems like top 3 QB draft compensation AND it's top 1 QB money. Is Watson really that good, especially after sitting for a year? We'll see...
 

djbayko

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I mean, to radsoxfan’s point, it’s not at all uncommon for contracts to be written with low base salaries in year 1, both to limit the out of pocket for owners and lower the initial cap hit. Let’s not forget Brady restructured before the 2016 season, getting a $28 million signing bonus and lowering his base to $1 million for 2016 and 2017 and reducing his lost earnings for the Deflategate suspension to only $250k. I mean, yes, fuck Cleveland and Watson, but it’s hard to call a pretty normal contract structure an “obvious circumvention” of a potential NFL punishment.
No one's disputing that it happens. But we all know why it's only ONE million this year, right? Either way, the commish should lay down a fine hammer along with the lengthy suspension, assuming he can.
 

Ed Hillel

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No one's disputing that it happens. But we all know why it's only ONE million this year, right? Either way, the commish should lay down a fine hammer along with the lengthy suspension, assuming he can.
Watson has already sat out a year and wasn't indicted. I think you let him play and see where these civil cases go, if anywhere.
 

JM3

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If Watson was a good dude & not a 22x alleged sexual assaultist, the outlay in picks & salary is probably roughly fair.
 

Cotillion

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It’s an obvious maneuver to circumvent a likely punishment from the NFL. How much power does the league have to levy a fine of their choosing here? For one, it’s the right thing to do, and for two, this could set a dangerous precedent. Like why wouldn’t the Falcons have reworked Calvin Ridley’s contract so that instead of his salary being $11m in 2022 it’s magically $1m with a team option for 2023 at say $15m? The Falcons and Ridley knew this was under investigation well before the punishment came out.

Where’s the line?
Done for a very different reason, but Pats did something similar with Brady's salary during the deflategate nonsense.

I doubt very much the NFL will go after the Browns for doing this when they didn't go after the Brady version which was a pretty big FU to the NFL since it was done when the Pats already knew he was being suspended.