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Browns GM says restructuring Deshaun Watson's market-shifting contract 'could be on the table'

One season into Deshaun Watson's market-shifting $230 million contract, the Cleveland Browns might have some decisions to make.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry didn't deny the team could restructure the deal while speaking with reporters at the NFL scouting combine on Tuesday.

"It could be on the table, but there's a lot of flexibility in terms of what we can do," Berry said.

Per Over The Cap, Watson's current deal is slated to give him a record $54,993,000 salary cap hit over the next four seasons. The contract remains fully guaranteed as well, with him earning a $46 million base salary each year.

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 01: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns looks on before the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField on January 1, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Deshaun Watson's Browns tenure has not gone according to plan so far. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) (Scott Taetsch via Getty Images)

Deshaun Watson's first year as a Brown was rough, and now it gets harder

Watson's contract, as well as the trade that brought him to Cleveland from the Houston Texans amid his sexual misconduct scandal, was already one of the most controversial decisions in NFL history. The Browns, however, were likely hoping for a lot more than what they got in Watson's first season with the team.

After missing 11 games due to his NFL suspension, Watson posted 1,102 passing yards, a 58.2% completion rate, seven passing touchdowns, five interceptions and 6.5 yards per pass attempt in six games, plus 175 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground. His 79.1 passer rating would have been fifth-worst in the NFL had he qualified, sandwiched between Carson Wentz and Baker Mayfield.

The Browns went 3-3 in Watson's starts, and are now losing the advantage of his relatively low $9.4 million cap hit in the first year of his contract. The team currently sits $13 million above the salary cap threshold.

All of that adds up to Watson needing to do a whole lot more with a whole lot less if the Browns want to break through in the AFC North, unless he wants to do the team a favor with his fully guaranteed deal.