Deshaun Watson expressed his hope and desire to reunite with former Houston Texans teammate DeAndre Hopkins, but this time in a Cleveland Browns uniform.
Watson made his comments Tuesday afternoon during the Browns Foundation golf outing at Westwood Country Club in Rocky River, Ohio. The comments come after Hopkins was cut by the Arizona Cardinals on Friday morning. Since his release, a whirlwind of rumors has swirled about where the five-time Pro Bowl receiver will land, and with those comments, Watson put his offer in the running, telling Cleveland.com:
“Me and D-Hop, we talk naturally. We’ve been talking since the Houston days, and whenever he was in Arizona, we’d always talk. He’s always been my brother since I graduated from high school. Our connection, our relationship has always been excellent. And I know there’s a lot going on in the media about him possibly coming to Cleveland. For me, my answer to that is, of course, we would love to have it.
Both Watson and Hopkins are former Clemson Tigers and played together for the Texans from 2017 to 2019. During that tenure, Hopkins caught 315 passes for 4,115 yards and 31 touchdowns. Hopkins made the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro during the three seasons he was with Watson.
Although Watson wasn’t on Hopkins’ list of the top five quarterbacks he’d like to play with, which he revealed on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast, Cleveland could still be a good pick.
Tuesday morning, NFL Network Ian Rapoport reported Hopkins hired Klutch Sports agent Kelton Crenshaw to represent him. The news comes after reports surfaced that the NFL Players Association showed Hopkins was unrepresented, raising issues with teams looking to sign the star receiver. Hopkins hires Crenshaw hints that the receiver is looking to get a deal done soon.
Finances and an already full wide-receiver corps are a big hurdle in the road to a Watson-Hopkins reunion. Cleveland only has about $6.7 million in salary cap space, per Spotrac, so to sign Hopkins, who apparently expects a “meaningful” contract offer, the Browns would have to maneuver and restructure their cash flow in order to get closer to Hopkins. ask for a price.
On top of that, this offseason the Browns have added Elijah Moore and Marquise Goodwin to their wide receiver corps led by former fourth-round pick in the NFL Draft, Amari Cooper. Cleveland also drafted Cedric Tillman of Tennessee in Round 3 last month.