Browns Get Clarity on Quarterback Situation Amid Drama

Deshaun Watson

Getty Images Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are still awaiting a decision on a potentially lengthy suspension for Deshuan Watson, but the quarterback coming to a settlement with the NFL is still in the cards.

Both sides have been posturing as Peter Harvey reviews the NFL’s appeal of Watson’s six-game ban, which was handed down by Sue Robinson earlier this month. The league has been clear they’re aiming to suspend Watson for the full season with a hefty fine.

“We’ve seen the evidence, she was very clear about the evidence, she reinforced the evidence,” commissioner Roger Goodell said. “There were multiple violations that were egregious and it was predatory behavior. Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that’s responsible.”

Watson’s side has said — through Associated Press sources — that they’d be willing to accept an eight-game suspension with a $5 million fine.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk teased on Friday that a settlement could be in the works between Watson and the NFL, which would eliminate the need for a decision from Harvey.

“Settlement of the Deshaun Watson situation is not out of the question, I’m told. Stay tuned,” Florio tweeted.

The sides could end up meeting in the middle if a settlement is reached, which would likely extend the six-game suspension but still allow Watson to play this season. The league would also want to include a fine, which was not part of the initial decision from Robinson.

Watson Set for First Preseason Start Against Jaguars

As of Friday afternoon, Watson is set to start the Browns’ first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That could change if a ruling comes down prior to kickoff. If the decision sidelines him for a year, Watson would no longer be permitted to practice during training camp or play in the preseason games.

That being said, a decision is not expected prior to the preseason kickoff, per Dan Graziano of ESPN.

“I’m told by sources that we will not get a Deshaun Watson decision today, which means we should expect to see him play in tonight’s Browns-Jaguars preseason game,” Graziano tweeted.

With Watson set to miss at least six games, he needs to get his live reps in now with the first-team offense. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has been adamant that the Browns have a plan on how to balance those reps with backup Jacoby Brissett, who is set to start in Watson’s place while he’s out.

“We have a framework on how we’re going to handle this preseason,” Stefanski said on August 9. “As you know, you always reserve the right to change your mind based on how practice goes and those types of things. We’re pretty confident in the plan we have.”

Browns Linked to 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

The Browns have been very complimentary of Brissett during camp but will want to get a good look at the veteran in the preseason to see if he can hold down the fort for more than six games.

Amid the uncertainty, the Browns have been linked to displaced 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Cleveland will consider acquiring the most accomplished veteran on the market if Watson’s suspension is significantly increased, per Mary Kay Cabot of

Garoppolo is due $24.2 million next season, which the Browns could afford with their NFL-best remaining cap space, which is nearly $49 million, per Over the Cap. However, Cabot teased that the Browns could sign him to a new deal with a “substantial signing bonus and lower base.”

With a roster built to win now, getting Garoppolo — who carries a 33-14 record as a starter — on board would be a key and hopefully eliminate

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