Deshaun Watson on DeAndre Hopkins: "Of course we'd love to have him"

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Deshaun Watson has already made his pitch to receiver DeAndre Hopkins to join him in Cleveland.

Tuesday morning, he did it in again front of cameras and microphones.

Watson, appearing at the Cleveland Browns Foundation’s annual charity golf outing at Westwood Country Club, didn’t shy away from talk about recruiting Hopkins.

“I know there's a lot of things swirling around in the media of him possibly coming to Cleveland,” Watson said. “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.... So all I can do is make a call and see what happens and have AB [Andrew Berry] do the rest.”

Watson and Hopkins played three years together between 2017-2019 with the Houston Texans where Hopkins was first team All-Pro all three years.

Watson and Hopkins combined for 3,433 yards and 25 touchdowns over 38 games with the Texans.

“He just makes the throws a lot easier,” Watson said. “His range catch radius is super, it’s probably the best in the league. And I mean just the things he does, he just made my job a lot easier so I just put the ball in his direction [and] he made the plays.”

Executive vice president of football operations and general manager Andrew Berry will undoubtably kick the tires on Hopkins but the Browns appear at best a longshot to land the five-time Pro Bowler.

The Browns currently have just over $6 million in salary cap space available but will be able to add close to $12 million more in room on June 1 when Jadaveon Clowney and John Johnson III’s cap charges come off the books from their release earlier this offseason as post-June 1 designations.

The team cash payroll for 2023 is approaching $300 million.

This offseason the Browns traded for Elijah Moore, signed Marquise Goodwin in free agency and drafted Cedric Tillman in the third round with their top pick following the Moore trade making the addition of Hopkins unlikely.

“I really, really like our wide receiver room,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “I love the guys that are in there. Andrew [Berry] and his crew are always looking at every avenue and that type of thing, so I won't comment specifically on the player other than to say I really like our roster.”

The Browns appear to check all of Hopkins’ boxes – chance to contend, quality quarterback, strong defense and stable leadership.

Watson knows it too.

“I’ll just say this, D-Hop, DeAndre Hopkins would love to be in a place where the opportunity is there for us to win,” Watson said. “We check all those boxes and I think for us to know and make sure we check all those boxes on the national stage, we’ve got to go out there and prove it and I think D-Hop would love to be a part of that.”

That said, Watson was not one of the quarterbacks that Hopkins mentioned on a podcast he’d like the chance to play with this upcoming season but Watson did not perceive that as a slight one bit.

“It’s all media,” Watson said. “He don’t have to mention me. Just like if I mentioned the top five receivers and I forget D-Hop. He won’t take that personal because he already knows our relationship and what I believe and what I think about him.”

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