The Cleveland Browns went all-in on Deshaun Watson when they traded for him, but there’s a decent chance that they won’t have him for the bulk of the 2022 NFL season, if not the entire thing.
While Baker Mayfield remains on the roster, it’s understood that he has almost certainly played his last game in a Browns uniform. The team does have Jacoby Brissett on the depth chart to step into the starting role if Watson is suspended by the NFL.
However, according to ESPN’s Jake Trotter, Cleveland could consider trading for another quarterback as well, especially if Watson’s suspension is substantial.
“If Watson is in fact suspended, look for offseason addition Joshua Dobbs to join the active roster,” wrote Trotter. “But while Cleveland could ride the bulk of the season with Brissett as its starter in the event of a Watson suspension, the Browns could also look for another quarterback trade — Baker Mayfield for Jimmy Garoppolo, anyone? — to help the team tread water while Watson is out.”
Jimmy Garoppolo remains the most interesting quarterback on the trade market aside from Mayfield and he did just lead the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. Given that the Niners want to move on from Jimmy G, it could be quite the consolation prize to have Garoppolo step in for 6, 9, 12, or even 17 games just to steady the ship until Watson can play again.
Of course, there are other options as well if the Browns don’t feel like they want to rely on Brissett. But it will be interesting to see what they do once they know how many games Watson might miss this season.