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Browns’ Callie Brownson: Team Consulted Female Employees Before Deshaun Watson Trade

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 10, 2022

BEREA, OH - JULY 29: Cleveland Browns chief of staff Callie Brownson assists in a drill during the second day of Cleveland Browns Training Camp on July 29, 2021 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Cleveland Browns assistant wide receivers coach Callie Brownson said she was consulted before the team traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is being sued by 24 women accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct.

"We had a lot of really healthy conversations and I appreciated that," she told Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal on Friday. "I definitely felt like they cared about the opinions of the women in this organization. It was not neglected; it was not overlooked. They definitely spoke to those who would be involved in the organization to see what that meant."

In March, the Browns traded first-round picks in 2022, 2023 and 2024, fourth-rounders in 2022 and 2024 and a third-round pick in 2023 for Watson and a 2024 sixth-rounder. The deal came after a Texas grand jury declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson (a separate grand jury in the state later declined to pursue criminal charges as well).

Shortly after the trade, the Browns signed the quarterback to a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million extension. It was a controversial move, given that the Browns fully guaranteed it despite the ongoing litigation against Watson and the structuring of the deal, and that his base salary in 2022 is just $1 million.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Important contract note for Deshaun Watson, who got a 5-year, $230M contract. His base salary for 2022 is $1M, which means if he’s suspended, it’ll come out of that base.

Field Yates @FieldYates

Deshaun Watson’s extension with the Browns:<br>Signing bonus: $44.965M<br>2022 salary: $1.035M<br>2023 salary: $46M<br>2024 salary: $46M<br>2025 salary: $46M<br>2026 salary: $46M<br><br>$230M. All fully guaranteed.

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

More details: Deshaun Watson gets a $45 million signing bonus. His base salary this season is $1 million, so any suspension -- if there is one -- would cost him juts $55,555 per game lost. <a href="https://t.co/6gDhRXksBq">https://t.co/6gDhRXksBq</a>

Some critics saw that structuring as a way for the team to help financially shield him in the event he was suspended by the league this season, a possibility as the NFL's own investigation into Watson continues.

But despite those optics, the 32-year-old Brownson—who previously worked as the team's chief of staff—is comfortable with what she described as organization's priority to support diversity and inclusivity.

"It's one thing to talk the talk as it pertains to inclusion and diversity, not just hiring, but growing within," she said. "But for me to work for an organization that walks the walk with it and is invested in it and me, it’s incredible. It makes me happy that I made the decision to come here and be here with [head coach Kevin Stefanski]. He's a man of his word in that capacity from a development standpoint."

Stefanski didn't fire Brownson in 2021 after she was arrested and pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence, though she was suspended by the team.