Browns Expected to Sign New QB Amid Deshaun Watson Drama

Deshaun Watson

Getty Images Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Cleveland Browns quarterback situation this offseason and it’s not over just yet.

The Browns are awaiting a decision from the NFL on a looming suspension for quarterback Deshaun Watson. If he’s handed a lengthy suspension, the Browns will look for a new passer to back up Jacoby Brissett, per Mary Kay Cabot of

With training camp beginning July 27, the Browns are hoping for a decision sooner than later so they can plan accordingly. If Watson is out for a lengthy period of time, they’ll will sign a quarterback to back up interim starter Jacoby Brissett.

The Browns’ depth chart currently consists of Watson, Brissett and Joshua Dobbs. If Cleveland does decide to bring in a new passer, that’d likely relegate Dobbs — who has gone through OTAs and minicamp — to the practice squad.

The Browns signed Dobbs in April, giving them a third quarterback to work with. However, he doesn’t carry much experience. Dobbs has completed just 10-of-17 career pass attempts for 45 yards and one interception. The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him in the fourth round (135th overall) of the 2017 draft.

He spent 2019 with the Jaguars after the Steelers traded him at the beginning of the season but re-joined the Steelers in 2020.

At this point in the offseason, there aren’t a ton of options available for the Browns via free agency. Cam Newton might be the most notable free agent, but likely not a fit for the Browns system or locker room. Veteran A.J. McCarron is still available and carries some in-game experience, as is Garrett Gilbert, who has spent some time with the Browns previously.

Browns Confident in Jacoby Brissett as Starter

The Browns inked Brissett to a deal shortly after sending former backup Case Keenum to Buffalo. Brissett has put up 7,742 yards, 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions over his career. He’s 14-23 as a starter in the NFL, albeit he’s been placed in some tough situations.

The Browns face the Panthers, Jets, Steelers and Falcons in their first four games. Only Pittsburgh made the postseason out of that group, but they’ll be integrating a new quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger retired.

Brissett might not be the flashiest option but the Browns are confident he can hold down the fort.

“I do have confidence in Jacoby,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said on June 14 at mandatory minicamp “He has played a lot of football for a young player. He is a smart player. He takes care of the football. Good size, can make all of the throws and those type of things. He has been in multiple offenses. Our offense is a little bit different than what he has done previously but has a really, really good understanding of football – football intelligence that is – so I just think he is a really good operator.”

Browns Not Looking to Replace Brissett

There have been whispers about the Browns possibly looking into a trade for displaced 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to take over the starting role if Watson is out an extended period of time. However, Cleveland’s interest in bringing in Garoppolo has been disputed.

“I don’t know that I would say Cleveland is a big suitor,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said July 12 on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes show. “I think they’re pretty comfortable with Jacoby Brissett. They got him as a bridge quarterback. They know they might need that sort of depth to make it work. They have Josh Dobbs too. … I don’t think they feel they have enough draft capital to really do anything like that. So we’ll see what kind of moves they might make.”

The Browns have been pointed to as a home for Garoppolo multiple times this offseason, much of that due to the almost $48.5 million in cap space the team has available, per Spotrac. Garoppolo is owed just under $25 million of non-guaranteed money, which means the 49ers could ultimately cut him if a deal doesn’t come to fruition.

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