Browns’ Pricey Offseason Acquisition Suffers Injury During Camp

Getty Images Head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns have been hit hard by the injury bug early in training camp, with one position group taking the brunt of the beating.

The most recent victim is wide receiver Amari Cooper, who sustained an injury to his right ankle during practice on Monday, August 1. Camryn Justice of tweeted video of the wideout following the incident Monday.

“#Browns Amari Cooper was being evaluated after a TD play today, but walked over to the sidelines where he stood as practice came to a close,” Justice tweeted. “[Head coach] Kevin Stefanski said he did not have an injury update yet.”

Jeff Schudel of The News Herald also reported Monday that Stefanski would provide the public with more information the following day, then offered an optimistic perspective as an eye witness to both the injury and the events that occurred after.

“Don’t quote me, but the way he stood on the field, without favoring his right leg and with no trainer near him, makes me guess it isn’t serious,” Schudel wrote on Twitter.

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Four Browns Wide Receivers Sustained Injuries in Last 2 Weeks

Anthony Schwartz

Getty ImagesWide receiver Anthony Schwartz of the Cleveland Browns suffered a knee injury during training camp.

The Browns acquired Cooper from the Dallas Cowboys via trade in March in return for a fifth-round draft pick and a sixth-round swap. The four-time Pro Bowl receiver has three years and $60 million remaining on his contract, which the team restructured to lessen his cap hit amid an expensive offseason.

Should Cooper avoid a serious injury designation, it will be the first spot of good luck for the Browns in that department since members of their receiving corps began going down. The phenomenon started with a foot injury sustained by third-rounder David Bell, who is expected to compete for a starting job in his rookie year. The problem landed Bell on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list where he is likely to remain for at least another week.

The next victim was speedster Anthony Schwartz, who suffered a knee injury during the July 28 practice and was listed as day-to-day 24 hours later. Undrafted free agent Isaiah Weston was carted off of the field on July 30 with an ACL injury and was waived August 1. Finally, it was Cooper suffering an ankle injury during that day’s practice session.

The Browns signed wide receiver Derrick Dillon, formerly of the New York Giants and the USFL, to take Weston’s place on the roster. Amid all the injury issues, Cleveland has also been urged to revisit signing free agent Will Fuller, a former teammate of quarterback Deshaun Watson for four seasons with the Houston Texans.

Watson Suspended 6 Games for Violating NFL Code of Conduct

Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

GettyQuarterback Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns.

On August 1, the Browns received the news that Watson would be suspended six games for violations of the NFL’s player conduct policy. That leaves the team with a few options under center, though none of them ideal.

Cleveland can lean on backup Jacoby Brissett, which appears to be the path forward in the immediate aftermath of the Watson suspension. The franchise may also consider trading with the San Francisco 49ers for veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, who is entering the final year of a five-year deal in 2022. The latter option would cost the Browns $27 million. However, Garoppolo would be an upgrade over Brissett and would also be insurance against Watson missing future games.

While Watson’s suspension was handed down by former federal judge and independent arbiter Sue L. Robinson, per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the league reserves the right to file an appeal to her decision within three days of the ruling.

The person who would hear that appeal is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, or someone designated by him, which means the league can swoop in at some point over the next 72 hours and reclaim complete control over Watson’s suspension, which would likely result in its lengthening.

Should that occur, an investment in Garoppolo would begin to make even more sense, as the two options currently on the roster behind Brissett are Josh Dobbs and Josh Rosen.

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