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Browns Making a Move? Deshaun Watson ‘Would Love’ DeAndre Hopkins in Cleveland



Deshaun Watson

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs are in an “arms race” to land three-time first-team All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

The Cleveland Browns, however, could be a dark horse team in the pursuit for the ultra-talented free-agent wide receiver, especially due to Hopkins’ past history with Deshaun Watson in Houston.

Speaking with reporters at the Cleveland Browns Foundation Annual Golf Tournament in Rocky River on Tuesday, Watson said he’s all-in on bringing his former teammate to Cleveland, but it’s ultimately up to upper management.

“Me and D-Hop naturally talk,” Watson told reporters at Westwood Country Club. “We’ve been talking since the Houston days and also whenever I was up there in Arizona we would always be talking. He’s always been a brother of mine since I was coming out of high school and our connection and relationship was always great. I know there’s a lot of things swirling around in the media about him possibly coming to Cleveland and for me, my answer to that, is of course we would love to have him. He knows that. We had a lot of connections, but that’s kind of out of my range of things to coordinate, so all I can do is make a call and see what happens and let AB (Andrew Berry) do the rest.”

All three of Hopkins’ first-team All-Pro nominations came in Houston with Watson as his quarterback. Watson has a passer rating of 101.0 with 9,716 yards, 71 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions with Hopkins in his career. The duo has played in 38 career games together.

Injuries coupled with a six-game suspension in 2022 for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy have dropped Hopkins’ numbers in his last two seasons in Arizona. Hopkins, 30, spent three seasons with the Cardinals, but played just one full year, when the caught 115 passes for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns in 2020.

On May 26, the Cardinals released Hopkins after no suitors materialized in a trade. An acquiring team would have had to deal with Hopkins’ $19.45 million salary for 2023, and another $14.9 million salary in 2024.

This isn’t the first time that Watson has talked about reuniting with Hopkins, as he spoke on the issue earlier this offseason on “The Q With Quincy Avery” podcast.

“It just really depends on if it’s serious or not, as far as if we can really get him,” Watson said.

“You got to be able to look [at] overall. Cap space, trade, different things like that. Talk to the coaches, being able to see like ‘alright this is something serious, it can happen’ … then you just kind of communicate with him, nothing too serious. Me and D-Hop actually been friends for awhile. We’re actually gonna be in the same area this weekend, so we’re gonna chop it up and see where things [are] … nothing’s guaranteed. You just kind of let it flow from there.

“That’s something that you got to be able to look at overall; cap space, trade and different things like that. You know, talk to the coaches, being able to see like alright this is something serious that can really happen.”

According to, the Browns currently have $6,991,088 in cap space, so they don’t have a lot to work with to sign Hopkins, who’s expected to want a hefty payday. The Browns have more cap space than the Bills and Chiefs, however. Perhaps Hopkins will come on a discounted rate to catch passes from Watson once again. As mentioned, Hopkins’ three first-team All-Pro selections came with Watson as his quarterback, so the familiarity and past productivity could override money at this point for the 30-year-old wideout. Of course, it will all depend on his market, but Cleveland could make the most sense for Hopkins at the end of the day.

If Hopkins were to land in Northeast Ohio, it would definitely make things even more interesting in the AFC North. Watson’s receivers would be Hopkins, Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore, Marquise Goodwin and Cedric Tillman. It might not be up there with the Cincinnati Bengals’ Big 3 in Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, but that would be a pretty solid receiving corps. The Baltimore Ravens also improved their receiving corps immensely this offseason with signing Odell Beckham Jr. and drafting Zay Flowers in the first round of the draft.

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