Since about the time he requested a trade from the Houston Texans in late January, Deshaun Watson’s life, both on and off the field, have spun fairly wildly put of control. Of course, off the field, there were the two dozen lawsuits from massage therapists that took over a year, and million of dollars, to settle. On the field, Deshaun Watson has not played good, winning football since 2019.
Watson appeared to be turning a corner this past Sunday. In his 12th start as a Brown, he was finally looking like the old Watson in the second half of a 33-31 comeback win over the Ravens in Baltimore. Then came Wednesday morning, and with it, the latest pothole in a career that appears cursed at this point:
Deshaun Watson will undergo season-ending surgery on a broken bone in his throwing shoulder. pic.twitter.com/W79ku2xzND
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 15, 2023https://twitter.com/Browns/status/1724786631977394687?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1724786631977394687%7Ctwgr%5Eaf07f543e4b4ab26ea81138154fa880daba16966%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.houstonpress.com%2Fnews%2Fdeshaun-watson-season-ending-injury-has-major-impact-on-houston-texans-16858735
So, for the second time in his career, the first being the torn ACL suffered in his rookie season in 2017, Deshaun Watson suffers a season ending injury, only this time both the pay ($46 million per season) and the stakes (Browns are 6-3 and firmly in the playoff race) are much, MUCH higher. The Browns still have a very good defense, and a very manageable schedule, but make no mistake — this is a huge torpedo right through the Browns’ Super Bowl hopes.
One team’s torpedo is the another team’s bouquet, as the old saying goes (a saying I made up seven seconds ago), and as tacky as it sounds when discussing an injured human being (even Deshaun Watson), the Texans just saw the rest of their season and offseason take an uptick. Here’s how:
3. The Browns’ first round draft pick, owned by the Texans, will be better
If the season had ended today, the Browns’ first round pick, which the Texans own from the Deshaun Watson trade, would be the 24th pick in the draft. I would expect that to change, perhaps significantly between now and the end of the season. With six wins already, the Browns have probably made it such that the pick won’t be in the top 7 or 8, even if they lose the rest of their games. However, if the Browns go 2-6 the rest of the way, and finish 8-9, it’s likely a pick in the top 15. We’ll take it!
2. The Texans’ playoff chances just improved
Currently, as the playoff standings sit, the Browns are the 6th seed in the AFC and the Texans are the 7th seed. Both teams would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. The Texans are ascending (5-2 in their last seven games) with a very manageable schedule. The Browns just lost their starting quarterback, and they’re rolling with a fifth round rookie. It’s as if another playoff spot just became available, which is great news for the Texans in a crowded AFC wild card race.
1. The game on December 24the at NRG Stadium got easier
The Browns are actually ON the Texans’ schedule, in Week 16 at NRG Stadium. That’s Christmas Eve, in case you’re wondering about the date. As inconsistent as Watson has been, he still gives the Browns a much better chance in that game than whoever they trot out there that day. SO that’s at least one Texans game that, theoretically, just got easier.
Really, the only losers among the Texans family in all this are any season ticket holders who were looking to move their Christmas Eve tickets on the secondary market. “Stroud versus Thompson-Robinson” doesn’t pop quite like “Stroud versus Watson” on the marquee.