The Browns continue to face uncertainty at the quarterback position heading into the regular season, with a potentially lengthy suspension awaiting Deshaun Watson after the NFL appealed the six-game ban he was handed by Sue L. Robinson. The three-time Pro Bowler could face up to a year ban.
“We’ve seen the evidence,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on August 9. “[Disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson] was very clear about the evidence, should we enforce the evidence. That there was multiple violations here, and they 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.”
There is no timeline for the decision on the appeal, which is being heard by former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey. The Browns plan to start Watson on Friday when they open the preseason in Jacksonville, although a ruling coming down prior to the game could change that.
Canty: Browns Should Absolutely Go After Garoppolo
If Goodell and the NFL get their way, it would leave the Browns with Jacoby Brissett as their starter, which Canty said he didn’t feel would suffice for a team with Super Bowl-level aspirations.
“They should absolutely go after Jimmy Garoppolo if Deshaun Watson is suspended indefinitely,” Canty said on the August 10 episode of ESPN’s “Get Up.” “Based on what the quarterback room looks like for the Cleveland Browns right now, Jimmy Garoppolo represents a better talent than anybody else. The only question becomes whether or not the margin between Jimmy G and the other quarterbacks the Browns have is worth the actual cost to bring him in.”
He pointed to Garoppolo as a great fit for Kevin Stefanski’s offense, saying his experience in the postseason would be a nice bonus for the Browns.
“In terms of him being a fit, it is a very comparable scheme to [what] Kyle Shanahan runs out there with the San Francisco 49ers — West Coast offense passing concepts married with inside-outside zone running game,” Canty said. “A lot of play-action, and last year, Jimmy Garoppolo led the National Football League in yards per attempt on play-action passes. It seems like it would be a great fit and I think it’s something the Browns should absolutely explore.”
Browns Have ‘Plan’ for Quarterback Situation
It’s been nearly two years since Watson has played in a live NFL game, so the Browns want to get him some action before he’s back on the shelf.
Even if Watson steps in for a few series, expect to see Brissett with some of the active starters during the Browns’ preseason debut. Josh Rosen and Joshua Dobbs — who are battling for the No. 3 QB spot — will likely take on the rest of the work.
While there may be some uncertainty about Brissett as a longer-term starting option, the Browns have been unwavering in their support.
“I am confident in our plan. Obviously, like I have told you guys, we will adjust based on information,” Stefanski said on August 7. “I am comfortable in what Jacoby has done to date with his reps. He has gotten a lot of them. He has gotten some with the ones and some with the twos, and we will stick to our plan absent any new information.”
After Jacksonville, the Browns will face the Eagles and Bears to wrap up the preseason.