Watson was 22-of-40 for 235 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers. However, he also tossed a pick-six and lost a pair of fumbles — one that was turned into a touchdown by Pittsburgh.
The Browns gave up a king’s ransom for Watson two offseasons ago, sending three first-round picks to the Houston Texans to land him as Baker Mayfield’s replacement.
The Browns also inked Watson to a five-year deal with $230 million fully guaranteed — a move that was highly criticized at the time considering Watson’s public image following a slew of lawsuits alleging sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during massage sessions.
Baker Mayfield Outperforming Deshaun Watson So Far This Season
With Watson struggling and Mayfield playing some solid football with the 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the heat is starting to rise for everyone in Cleveland — from Watson, to head coach Kevin Stefanski and even general manager Andrew Berry.
“It’s time to talk about the Browns decision to give Deshaun Watson a $230 million contract — fully guaranteed,” NFL reporter Dov Kleiman tweeted. “You expect more than this from a franchise QB you gave up a ton of picks and money — he’s not playing well at all.”
Others pointed to the fact that the Browns have linked themselves to Watson for the foreseeable future and can’t go back now, despite his sub-par play.
“Baker Mayfield looks better than Deshaun Watson… grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” one commenter wrote. “Browns paying for it! Watson is due so much damn money… they are so screwed the next few years.”
So far this season, Mayfield has a 104.4 QB rating, recording 490 yards and three touchdowns. He hasn’t thrown an interception. Mayfield signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Bucs this offseason.
Watson has 389 yards, two touchdowns and has tossed a pair of interceptions. His QB rating is currently 69.1 and on Monday he was responsible for more Steelers touchdowns than Browns ones. Watson is under contract through the 2026 season.
Deshaun Watson Says He Played ‘Sh**ty’ Against Steelers
Watson had multiple chances to help the Browns pull out a victory against the Steelers but failed to rise to the occasion. After the game, he put the blame for the loss firmly on his shoulders.
“It’s still coming along. Tonight, it was shitty,” Watson said. “You put it on me. I can take the full blame, I can take the criticism and I’m going to do that. And I told everyone in our offense, the whole team, I’m going to do better for this team, for this organization so we can win games like that. And I’m fine with taking the criticism and I will be better.”
J.R. DeGroote covers the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Lakers for Heavy.com. He covered local and statewide sports as a reporter for West Hawaii Today and has decades of experience in digital media with previous stops at SB Nation and Bleacher Report. He has won multiple state, regional and national honors for sports reporting and photography. More about J.R. DeGroote
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