Deshaun Watson’s season has been cut short. The Cleveland Browns quarterback, returning to full-time starting duties this season after missing over half of last year due to suspension for the dozens of lawsuits of sexual assault filed against him, will be forced to undergo surgery and miss the Browns’ playoff push.
According to sources, #Browns QB Deshaun Watson wanted to get shot up and play despite the injury, and he sought different medical evaluations. But physicians were unequivocal: if he was injured again in the same area, his shoulder could disintegrate. Now he must have surgery, and his 2023 season is finished.
Since the NFL trade deadline has passed, Cleveland’s first choice will be to turn to PJ Walker, the backup who has already subbed for Watson a few times this season due to various ailments. However, if their quarterback produces well, the Browns have a good chance of reaching the Super Bowl. The defense is among the top in the league in all significant statistical categories, but the offense has struggled to produce with Walker at the helm.
Let’s imagine the Browns decide to look beyond the building in order to optimize this season and just this season. Who could they pursue to replace Watson and provide the club the best chance of success?
No, there has not been any indication Brady would come back at all, much less for a 6-3 team residing in a far colder climate than what he prefers. But they’d be pretty sick with him back there, huh? The run game has remained excellent despite Nick Chubb’s injury thanks to a quality offensive line, and while the sack rate is high Brady’s ability to get rid of it quickly should help with that. Getting the offense to a league-average level is enough to win games and Brady could definitely do that. A long shot doesn’t do this possibility justice; it’s borderline impossible. But fun to think about!
Moving onto a marginally more realistic option, McCoy has long been thought of as one of the league’s better backup quarterbacks. Yet he has stayed unsigned since the Cardinals surprisingly released him just before the season began. This may be because he’s waiting for a shot at a starting gig and this is it. McCoy is no better than a replacement-level player but a case can be made that’s better than what Walker can bring to the table. A fairly solid option that would, if anything, prevent the Browns from being forced to turn to Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who has looked very bad in his limited appearances.
This one actually could work out better than what you might think. Newton was totally washed the last time we saw him, to be sure, and fallen so far that Walker is definitely a better option as a dropback passer. But do you know what this Browns team needs more than anything at this point? A little bit of swagger and confidence. The dark undertones surrounding Watson’s tenure with the Browns seems like it would be hard to really get behind the guy and he’s been hurt too much to become that kind of leader anyway. Newton, for all his faults, is an absolute force of a personality who can make people believe when there’s no hope. Cleveland may as well give it a whirl.