The Cleveland Browns may have the two worst contracts in the NFL.
When it comes to the 2022 NFL season, the Cleveland Browns are certainly bucking past ideologies. Gone was the more frugal spending of the Browns, with a focus on making sure their salary cap is never in true danger, and in was a more free-spending organization. This mentality saw them give Deshaun Watson and his 22 lawsuits, a fully guaranteed contract that tops $250 million. They also took on Amari Cooper’s deal, which saw him get a 5-year, $100 million ($60 million guaranteed).
This has caused Sayre Bedinger of NFL Spin Zone to deduce that Watson and Cooper’s deals are the worst in football.
These two deals are huge and are eating up a lot of the Browns’ salary cap for the next three seasons. Cooper’s deal is so massive it had to be restructured to convert most of his 2022 salary into a signing bonus. This has also made the Browns take on an extra $8 million after the life of the contract. It’s not quite Bobby Bonilla-levels of post-play payouts, but locking yourself into $8 million for two additional years after the contract is over is certainly a move. It hurts their long-time financial flexibility, as it’s not money the Browns can really do anything about.
They have to pay it eventually.
For Watson, his deal is far more obvious and awful. The Browns only owe Cooper for the next three years. And sure, his contract is a poison pill that will cost the Browns way too much to void or trade, but it’s only for three more years.
Watson is for five. And unlike Cooper’s, Watson’s is for $46 million per year after 2022. That’s an overpay for just about any quarterback who’s on the field. Watson may get suspended, maybe more than once, and then you’re potentially paying a player $46 million per year to do nothing.
So are Cooper and Watson’s contracts the two worst in football? There’s an argument for it.
Who were the other three worst contracts?
Beding wrote that Jamal Adams, Christian Kirk, and Ezekiel Elliot were the other three men who had the worst contracts in football. Adams is a top talent, and Elliot is no slouch but they’re obviously overpaid for what they can produce.
Kirk, on the other hand, is a number two receiver on some times (number three everywhere else) and he got some pretty big money from the Jaguars.
I do think the Browns have the two worst contracts, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t talented players. Cooper is a better receiver than anyone the Browns had since Jarvis Landry’s first year in Cleveland, and Watson’s skillset alone makes him an interesting prospect.
You know, when he isn’t making women cry.