Report Suggests Browns Won't Be Getting J.J. Watt

John Clayton of 710 ESPN Seattle has said that J.J. Watt is going to sign with a handful of teams and that the Cleveland Browns weren't mentioned. It could certainly be the case, but it's a strange report, especially at this stage of the calendar.
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According to John Clayton of 710 ESPN Seattle, free agent defensive lineman J.J. Watt will be choosing between the Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, and perhaps even the Las Vegas Raiders. That would leave out the Cleveland Browns.

While it's certainly possible Watt won't end up signing Cleveland, it would seem strange to write them off at this stage in the process. If it's true that Watt's three priorities are the chance to win a championship, supporting cast and money, it would be a perplexing choice to eliminate the team with the most financial flexibility of any potential contender, even if it's simply to use them to up offers from other teams.

Based on talk that despite the fact that Watt was said to understand he knows he'll have to take less money than he was making with the Houston Texans, he's asking for a ton of it and pricing himself out of the conversation with a few teams. Reportedly, the Green Bay Packers don't think they can make the money work and other teams are waiting for him to drop his demands while trying not to alienate him.

The Raiders aren't in a position to contend for a championship with or without Watt. Even mentioning them seems to undermine what Watt is trying to get from a new team.

It's also unlikely the Browns are giving up on Watt at this stage. There has been some expectation that Watt might make a decision or at least narrow down the field this week, but there's nothing that really forces him to do it. With the salary cap still not finalized, teams aren't entirely decided on what they can pay Watt, regardless of what he's asking for in a contract.

Maybe Watt has no interest in the Browns, but everything about this report is strange, save for the fact it would write off the Pittsburgh Steelers, who never made any sense as a destination.

Clayton himself clarified his stance, tweeting the following, saying that he believed the three teams were the leading contenders as opposed to his only ones.

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