No matter the final score, triumph or tragedy is something the quarterback must carry — despite how they played. And since that’s the way things work, Cleveland Browns third-string quarterback PJ Walker gets the praise for the team’s surprising win over the NFL’s best team, the San Francisco 49ers. But the game wasn’t just an example of how any team can lose on any given Sunday, it was proof that the Browns decision to give Deshaun Watson a guaranteed $230 million contract is one of the most head-scratching deals in sports history.
Yes, the Browns’ defense held San Francisco to a season-low in rushing yards, (108), passing yards (125), and total points (17) — giving the 49ers their first loss in 16 regular season games. And yes, San Francisco could have escaped with a win if third-round pick Jake Moody hadn’t missed a 41-yard field goal in the final seconds.
But history rarely remembers regular season games that come down to a kick. History prefers to highlight who the man under center was when surprising things happen on a football field. For example, it’s the only reason why Frank Reich is still relevant — Google him.
“It meant the world. Being in a situation I was in a couple of months ago, in Chicago, being released. I feel like I’m in a great place. I’m in a better place,” Walker said after the game, due to getting the win because of the Browns’ defense, a shoulder injury to Watson and the previous poor play of rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Crazy things happen in football weekly because football is a crazy sport. However, the difference between the amount of money Walker and Watson make may be the craziest thing about what happened between the 49ers and the Browns.
According to Spotrac, Walker is making $289,800 this season in Cleveland — as he was just on the practice squad a few days ago. And while comparison is the thief of joy, in this situation, it’s also a great example of how a capitalistic society works. To most Americans, Walker has a great salary. But when you compare it to Watson’s it makes Walker look broke.
Due to the Browns restructuring Watson’s deal earlier this year — as it freed up almost $36 million in cap space for this season — he’s on pace to take home almost $19 more than Walker. Check this out from Spotrac:
- 2023: $19.125 million
- 2024: $63.96M
- 2025: $63.96M
- 2026: $63.96M
- 2027: $8.967M (voidable year)
Yes, the Browns are on the hook to pay Watson more than $60 million in 2024, 20025 and 2026 when we don’t know if he’ll be back to himself after this shoulder injury, on top of the fact that he hasn’t been “back to himself” since he’s worn a Browns jersey.
In the one game that Walker has played this season, he’s thrown 34 passes and completed 18 of them for 192 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. In the three games that Watson has played his season, he’s thrown 102 passes and completed 65 of them for 678 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.
(Expensive) buyer’s remorse is so real.
Original source here
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