The Cleveland Browns acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper on Saturday. Is this move related to an impending trade for Deshaun Watson?
The NFL offseason has not disappointed, as entering Saturday, there were a total of three trades made throughout the week. That number grew to four thanks to the Cleveland Browns, who acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a fifth- and sixth-round picks.
Prior to the Cooper trade being reported, the Browns were in the news as one of the teams reportedly in the mix for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. So, is the Cooper trade a precursor to a deal for Watson?
Browns: Is Amari Cooper trade a precursor to trading for Deshaun Watson
The Cooper trade is probably unrelated to a pursuit for Watson.
Cleveland had a need at wide receiver ever since they parted ways with Odell Beckham Jr. midway through the 2021 season, and watched him join the Los Angeles Rams and win Super Bowl 56. Now, the Browns have their top target in the passing game in Cooper, who was essentially a cap casualty by the Cowboys this offseason.
Since the end of the season, Browns general manager Andrew Berry put his support behind Baker Mayfield to be their starting quarterback. He reiterated that during his appearance at the NFL Scouting Combine. Mayfield is currently on the final year of his rookie contract, effectively making him a free agent at the end of this upcoming season.
Yet, reports indicated that the Browns were one of many teams linked to Watson immediately after a Texas grand jury declined to criminally charge the quarterback after police investigated allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Despite not being criminally charged, Watson still faces 22 civil lawsuits and could receive punishment from the NFL.
While the trade market has ramped up since late Friday, it is not a given that the Browns will trade for Watson. The quarterback has a no-trade clause and it is uncertain if he would waive it to play for Cleveland.