NFL rumors: Browns nearly got rare exit ramp from Deshaun Watson contract

The Cleveland Browns nearly found a way out of Deshaun Watson's fully-guaranteed contract. An on-field suspension could be a $100 million-plus mistake.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Cleveland Browns altered the quarterback market forever when they signed Deshaun Watson -- then dealing with dozens of civil suits for sexual assault and harassment allegations -- to a fully-guaranteed deal worth $230 million over five years.

Said contract spoke to the desperation of the Browns franchise, and how badly Cleveland fans wanted a winner on the gridiron. Being able to overlook all of Watson's transgressions and hand him the keys to the franchise was a bold move, to say the least. However, if Watson isn't careful, he could give that all up.

Per Pro Football Talk, there are some ways Watson's guaranteed contract could be voided. The most relevant reason so far this season would be a multi-game suspension. Watson has already been penalized and fined for multiple facemasks and making contact with an official. If he's not careful, he could give the Browns an out.

NFL Rumors: How could Browns get out of Deshaun Watson's contract?

Per PFT, "this means that Watson’s future guarantees can be voided if he is suspended for two or more games for violating the on-field playing rules, or if he is suspended for one or more game for violating on-field playing rules in a way that the team regards as egregious...if the Browns decide to dub the conduct as “egregious,” the Browns could invalidate those guarantees, brace for the inevitable grievance from the NFL Players Association, and hope for the best."

For now, Cleveland hopes that Watson can turn his season around. It has only been two games, after all, and with Nick Chubb out for the year they will have to rely on their quarterback more than ever. Finding a way to save money on Watson makes sense long term, but not in the interim.

The Browns (with the right QB play) could be a playoff team. That's more important to this front office than anything else.

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