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Deshaun Watson Finally Suspended, Was Trading For Him A Mistake?

The final word came down regarding the Deshaun Watson suspension. Will the Cleveland Browns ultimately regret making this trade?

There is a feeling of relief around Cleveland, Ohio, today that the Deshaun Watson suspension process is officially over. The NFL and NFLPA came to a settlement today after the NFL appealed Watson’s first suspension of six games that Judge Sue Robinson gave out. Deshaun Watson will be suspended for a total of 11 games and will have to pay a five million dollar fine.

This is the best-case scenario for Deshaun Watson and the Browns. It sounded like when the NFL appealed the suspension; they were looking to give him a full year. Instead, Watson will be able to play in the Brown’s last six games and hopefully be able to provide them with a late playoff push.

Deshaun Watson saw his first live NFL action last week since December of the 2020 season in a preseason game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars. The first game Watson will be allowed back for is in week 13 against the Houston Texans. They decide it will be in Houston vs. his former team out of all the games Deshaun Watson could return for. The Browns could elect not to play Watson in that game, but I think the Browns will be ready to get him on the field as soon as his suspension ends.

Trading For Watson

Since March, the Browns have been on a roller coaster ride since it was announced that they would go after Deshaun Watson. Many Browns fans had mixed feelings about it, and many of them just wanted to run it back with Baker Mayfield for one more season. The day Deshaun Watson announced he would be traded to the Browns was one of the strangest days in Cleveland sports. A lot of people were extremely excited that the Browns finally had a top-ten quarterback but, at the same time, were not happy with everything that was going on with him.

During this process, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam also made the rest of the NFL pretty mad. He gave Deshaun Watson a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract. Many people in the NFL, including many owners, did not like that Watson was the first quarterback to get his contract fully guaranteed at $230 million. Many other owners will have to follow the same game plan to pay their franchise quarterbacks.

Why Did The Browns Make The Move?

Was it all worth it for the Browns to give up three years of draft capital and go through everything they did with Watson this off-season? If you asked the Browns, they would do it again in a second.

Since the Browns came back in 1999, they have been the laughingstock of the NFL. They went through quarterback after the quarterback like you couldn’t believe it. They finally looked like they had their franchise guy in Baker Mayfield, but that turned out to be false. The Browns knew they needed an upgrade to keep up with guys like Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Bill’s quarterback Josh Allen and Deshaun Watson, who have great talent, were sitting there to be traded. The Browns were going to do whatever they could to make sure Watson was a Brown and didn’t care what the reaction would be.

The Browns were following the trend in the NFL over the last few seasons with the quarterback movement. Tom Brady signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 and ended up going on to win a super bowl that season. The Rams traded for Matthew Stafford in the winter of 2021, and he was a super bowl champ by February 2022. The Broncos made a trade a few weeks before the Watson trade for Russell Wilson. The Browns knew they needed to join this trend, but the only issue was they traded for a quarterback who hasn’t played football for a year and has allegations surrounding him and a suspension coming.

It’s now time to win for the Browns, and Jimmy Haslam knew the best chance was getting Deshaun Watson. Even though he is suspended for 11 games, he still is their future quarterback, and I think many people would sign up for Watson for the next decade.

Quarterback Options

The Browns still have football games that need to be played before seeing Deshaun Watson. As of right now, it looks like Jacoby BrissettJacoby Brissett will be the Browns’ starting quarterback for the 11 games if they do not make a move for another one.

#Browns Kevin Stefanski said the team has trust in Jacoby Brissett — Fred Greetham (@FredGreetham9) August 18, 2022

A lot of speculation has been going around that the Browns could be a possible destination for 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. It doesn’t sound like the Browns are interested in acquiring him now, but he wouldn’t be a bad option to bring in for the 11 games.

Garoppolo had surgery on his throwing shoulder this offseason, and that’s just another list of health concerns surrounding him. Even though Garoppolo gets banged up a lot, he would still be a great guyin the Browns locker room.

The thing about Garoppolo is he doesn’t do anything well but win football games, and that is the most important thing about being a quarterback. Garoppolo knows how to win and lead a locker room, and the most important thing for the Browns is staying afloat when Watson is ready to play.    

Garoppolo’s shoulder surgery is an area of concern, but I think the Browns need to call the 49ers and see the price. Garoppolo wouldn’t probably be able to play week one, but he would be good enough to compete with Brissett and even be his backup if he doesn’t beat him. The Browns have the cap space to take on the last year of his contract, and the Browns are a Brissett injury away from playing Josh Dobbs.

Even if the Browns don’t trade for another quarterback, I think Brissett can get the job done. He has started almost two full NFL seasons while playing for the Colts, and he can be a game manager-type quarterback for them.

The Browns were able to go eight and nine in the 2021 season, with a bottom-five quarterback playing for most of the year. If Brissett can be an average quarterback, I think he will be able to keep the Browns in games and win them with the talent surrounding him.

Browns Other Players

The Browns have tons of talent on the team that will be able to keep this team from collapsing without Deshaun Watson. They have one of the best defensive ends in the NFL in Myles Garrett and one of the best cornerbacks in Denzel Ward. The defense will have to carry this team early on when the offense is figuring things out, and I believe they will.

The Browns also have the best running back room in the NFL with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and they will be used a lot. The Browns also have two of the best guards in the NFL to run behind in Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller. The wide receiver room is an area of concern, but Amari Cooper will be the quarterback’s best friend.

I think one thing also to rely on his head coach Kevin Stefanski. He finally gets to start preparing for football games and doesn’t have to worry about the Watson suspension any longer.  I know the 2021 season wasn’t the Browns and Stefanski’s best year, but he seems excited about the new season, and I think we will see a lot of 2020 Stefanski this season.

Even without Deshaun Watson for 11 games, the Browns should still be competitive and in the playoff hunt when Watson returns to the field.

It has been a crazy last six months for Browns fans with all the Deshaun Watson drama, and it finally feels good to be able to put the suspension news to rest. It is now time to focus on actual football.   

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