The one NFL trade that might beat Russell Wilson deal for worst ever

Was the Deshaun Watson deal worse than the Russell Wilson deal?

Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Although it might end up being fair to say the Russell Wilson-Denver Broncos trade ends up being the worst in league history, it's also fair to point out that it may not even be the worst trade that was made in the NFL in 2022.

As Lindsay Rhodes points out, the Cleveland Browns' blockbuster trade to acquire Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in 2022 might actually be worse, although the jury is still out considering the fact that Watson is still in Cleveland in 2024. The case to be made for the Watson trade being worse than the Wilson trade is compelling:

Since 2022, it's absolutely fair to say that Russell Wlson has given the Denver Broncos way more than Deshaun Watson has given the Cleveland Browns. Watson didn't even want to go to the Browns until they offered him an unprecedented, fully-guaranteed $230 million contract. The rumors at the time were that Watson wanted to go to Atlanta or Philadelphia, not Cleveland. But he apparently had a change of heart when the Browns signed a blank check.

Everything about the Deshaun Watson deal in Cleveland is terrible. The process of the Browns acquiring Watson from the Texans amidst allegations of sexual misconduct is one of the most bizarre things you'll likely ever see in the NFL. Cleveland acquired Watson for the price of three first-round picks (and then some) along with the record-setting $230 million deal amidst his ongoing legal battle, knowing he would be facing discipline from the league.

And Watson did serve an 11-game suspension in 2022, only to look nothing like his former self when he came back to play in the final six games of the season. He then only participated in six games of the 2023 season as the Browns somehow found a way to win 11 overall. So, Since making that blockbuster deal, the only reason the Browns aren't facing the music like the Denver Broncos are right now is because Joe Flacco steered the ship in the right direction at the end of last season.

But the Browns's team success has overshadowed the utter failure of the Deshaun Watson trade. Meanwhile, the Houston Texans have utilized their newfound NFL Draft capital as a way to build a legitimate contender in the AFC.

And Watson hasn't played well, quite frankly, since the 2019 season.

So, we'll see what happens as time goes along. The Broncos' process of acquiring Wilson was certainly better than the way the Browns went about acquiring Watson. More justifiable, to say the least. And Wilson actually did some good for the Broncos and the city of Denver.


He helped the Broncos finally end their losing streak against the Kansas City Chiefs, if nothing else. He restored hope to the franchise and fan base, if only for a short amount of time. And ultimately, Russell Wilson is a good man who works hard and loves the team/his teammates. It wasn't bad process that led to the failure of Denver's blockbuster deal.

But that might just happen in Cleveland.

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