CLEVELAND, OH – After being cleared of 22 sexual assault charges and allegations, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson may be coming to The Dawg Pound as the new starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.
Watson, a former national champion at Clemson and 12th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, is a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2018-20), who has passed for 14,539 yards, completed 67.8 percent of his passes, posted a QB rating of 104.5, rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground and 104 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.
Stats aside, is Watson enough of a potential public relations nightmare for the Browns to want to upgrade to? For all his failings in the fourth quarter and questionable decision-making, current starter Baker Mayfield may be playing his last few snaps in Cleveland.
While Watson will still face the possibility of civil suits, Cleveland has shown that it is not afraid to gamble on players embattled with legal issues, as they did sign local native, in running back Kareem Hunt.
Despite leading the Browns to their first playoff appearance and win in over 30 years in 2020, Mayfield played thru a myriad of injuries in looking inconsistent, erratic and unable to show the kind of production and leadership that his fellow young QB peers such as Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Justin Herbert have.
Depending on the moves that Cleveland makes in the off-season, watch and read the tea leaves closely in Cleveland. Trading for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper is a clue that either the front office is pleased with the progress of Mayfield’s off-season rehab, or that they are acquiring assets to surround another QB currently not in Berea.
Aside from former Pitt Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett and possibly Malik Willis—who raised his draft stock immensely, thanks to a strong showing at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis—this current QB class is a proverbial crap shot.
With Russell Wilson landing in Denver, Aaron Rodgers staying in Green Bay and Carson Wentz being dealt to Washington, the potential targets for a QB to challenge Mayfield appear to be either Jimmy Garrapolo, Sam Darnold and possibly the fore-mentioned Watson, who is being pursued heavily by Miami, Carolina and New Orleans.
If the Browns don’t feel Mayfield is not the answer, and that he may have already hit his ceiling, now would be the time to move on from him, as he is in the final year of his rookie deal.
If so, does Cleveland go in on Watson, or possibly move up for a QB like Pickett.
Only time will tell. Stay tuned.