The Cleveland Browns acquire QB Deshaun Watson
If I told you a team gave up 3 first round picks, a third round pick, and a fourth round pick for a player, you’d say - wow, that’s a haul. If I then told you that the player received a $230M contract, fully guaranteed at signing, you’d say - is this baseball? If I told you that it was already known prior to that the player would be suspended for a large portion of time upon the signing of the contract, you’d say - wait, what? And then if I told you the team accepted language in the contract that forbids them from recouping money lost due to that suspension, you’d say - this must be the Browns right?
The outcome of this trade is obviously TBD, but the circus makes it the leader in the clubhouse by a factor of ten thousand.
The Denver Broncos acquire QB Russell Wilson
In any normal offseason, this move would have led the charge through the summer. But Deshaun Watson, and the “Summer of the WR” overshadowed the transaction almost immediately after it was processed. That shouldn’t change the potential ceiling that Wilson brings to a “win-ready” roster. Denver and Wilson appear to be taking the Rams/Stafford approach, in that both will give it a year to settle in before a new contract is approached. Wilson holds 2 years, $51M through 2023.
The Miami Dolphins acquire WR Tyreek Hill
It was a toss-up between Hill and Adams as the top WR trade, but based on volume alone, Hill takes the top spot. The Chiefs acquired 5 draft picks for their star WR: A 1st, 2nd, 4th, 4th, and 6th. Factor in the 4 year, $120M extension ($72.2M guaranteed), and this adds up to a blockbuster move by the Dolphins.
The Las Vegas Raiders acquire WR Davante Adams
The Dolphins made the Raiders acquisition of Adams look paltry in hindsight. Adams joins the AFC West for a 1st, 2nd, and $65M guaranteed through 2024. The Carr/Adams connection could be a gamechanger for the Raiders, who live in one of the league’s toughest divisions, yet refuse to mail it in.
The Indianapolis Colts acquire QB Matt Ryan
This would be higher (and might be in a few months) if I felt better about the Colts young, unproven passing weapons. It feels like this offense will be about possession, and short yardage progression. With a weak division and a lot of talent, they should walk into the postseason with Ryan at the helm, who holds a 2 years, $54M guaranteed through 2023.
The Cleveland Browns acquire WR Amari Cooper
Two days before the Browns won the Watson sweepstakes, they brought over Cooper from the Cowboys for what now seems like highway robbery - a 5th round pick. Yes, he’s guaranteed $20M this year (most of which has already been converted to a signing bonus), but a healthy Cooper is a runaway WR1 for this roster, and with 3 years, $60M left on the deal, if he works out, there’s value to be had here. If not, they can walk away after 2022 with no additional cash owed. Hopefully he and Jacoby Brissett are working overtime on their chemistry.
The Washington Commanders acquire QB Carson Wentz
Wentz has been one of the most inaccurate and worst decision-making QBs over the past 3 seasons, and yet Washington had no problem trading away a conditional 2nd round pick (2023 3rd round pick becomes a 2nd if Wentz plays 70% of the snaps in 2022) to take on his $28M salary this year. If it works out, then it works out. When it doesn’t, it’ll be back to square one for Washington, and a backup role for Wentz.
The Los Angeles Chargers acquire EDGE Khalil Mack
He might not be able to handle #1 pass rush duties anymore, but a Joey Bosa + Khalil Mack attack should be one of the most dangerous in all of football. Mack has 3 years, $64M left, but there’s an out after 2022 if LAC needs it. The Bears took back a 2nd and 6th round pick to move on here.
The Philadelphia Eagles acquire WR AJ Brown
Anyone with rooting interest here hates that I made this 9th, but Brown has to be great to make this one stick. Or at the very least, he better be markedly better than Treylon Burks, the key pick given up to bring Brown over to Philly (Tennessee also gained a 2022 3rd). Burks gets $14M guaranteed over 4 years, Brown gets $57M guaranteed over 3. I love the “all-in-for-Hurts” move, but it was a home run swing when a bunt could have easily kept the inning alive.
The Buffalo Bills acquire QB Case Keenum
There were a few options to sneak into the top 10, but after losing Mitchell Trubisky to free agency, Buffalo had a big hole behind MVP favorite Josh Allen. It was widely assumed that a reunion with Tyrod Taylor or Ryan Fitzpatrick would suit well, but Buffalo took much more value in their QB2 opening, shipping a 7th round pick to rival Cleveland for a player who at times, outplayed Baker Mayfield in each of the past two seasons.
Not only is this a good handcuff for Josh Allen - it’s a massive loss for Cleveland right now, as they turned around and signed Jacoby Brissett (to a near $5M contract), while also paying Keenum’s $1M roster bonus. Keenum’s experience not only in his 10 year career, but also with this Browns’ offense the past two seasons, would have been essential as a fill-in option for Watson’s pending suspension.