For most teams, shipping away a disgruntled signal caller would seemingly put an end to their quarterback woes.
Not the Browns.
Despite solving the Baker Mayfield headache, the Browns still face a self-induced migraine: Deshaun Watson.
Back in March, the Browns traded six draft picks, including three firsts, for the Houston Texans quarterback.
The team then handed Watson a fully-guaranteed five-year, $230 million deal.
All this despite knowing Watson faced over 20 civil suits alleging sexual misconduct.
And while Watson has settled most of those cases out of court, he still faces league discipline.
This likely means another chapter of the Browns’ summer quarterback saga is yet to be written.
Back on June 27, the NFL and Watson engaged in a three-day hearing with NFL disciplinary officer Sue Robinson.
Both sides made their case for appropriate punishment, with Watson’s team arguing for no suspension and the NFL advocating Watson sit out indefinitely.
Now that Robinson has received both post-hearing briefs (those were due last Tuesday), she’ll issue a written decision sometime over the next few weeks.
Much of the next few weeks hinges on two factors: 1) whether Watson receives a suspension from the league and 2) how long might that suspension last?
If the answer is “long,” then the Browns might be looking for other options under center.
According to Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns will look to bring in another quarterback if Watson faces a significant suspension:
“With training camp beginning July 27, the Browns are hoping for a decision sooner than later so they can plan accordingly. If Watson is out for a lengthy period of time, they’ll will sign a quarterback to back up interim starter Jacoby Brissett.”
Cabot went on to explain that there’s a growing feeling that Watson will be back sometime this season.
The Browns running back room is something else👑👑👑 pic.twitter.com/Qw6lXB2EO1
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) July 14, 2022
But the Browns need some level of additional help, according to Cabot.
Rolling with Brissett is already a risky endeavor, but entering the season with only Brissett and current third-string Josh Dobbs as options is borderline negligent.
Perhaps that’s a theme of the Browns’ summer so far.
Cabot’s suggestion that the Browns will look for another arm if Watson is suspended isn’t a surprise.
Current backup Jacoby Brissett owns a career completion percentage of 60.2% over his six years in the league.
And he’s little more than a backup journeyman, capable of filling in as a backup, but hardly the starting option.
Take last season with the Dolphins.
It looked like Miami so desperately wanted Brissett to work out, given starter Tua Tagovailoa’s poor play at times.
But Brissett time and again failed to make an impression; he appeared in seven games last season, throwing five touchdowns against four picks.
He’s not the person you want shepherding a young crop of receivers, which is precisely what the Browns have.
And Josh Dobbs?
He’s thrown 17 passes in his NFL career for a total of 45 yards.
As it stands, if Brissett goes down for any reason and Watson is out, Dobbs is the guy.
Except he can’t be the guy.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) June 14, 2022
Right now, Cam Newton is really the only serviceable free agent available.
Could he back up Brissett?
If it’s not Newton on some very minimal salary, then Brissett’s backup is likely someone already on an NFL roster.
That means surrendering more draft capital that the Browns desperately need.