Browns Offer Update on QB Deshaun Watson’s Starting Status for Week 1

The Browns could restructure Deshaun Watson's contract this offseason.

Getty Images The Browns could restructure Deshaun Watson's contract this offseason.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is throwing again after months of rehabilitation from a November 2023 shoulder surgery, and the updates have begun to roll in.

The most pertinent came from head coach Kevin Stefanski on Monday, March 25 at the NFL Owners’ Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

“He’s doing everything he’s supposed to, so he’s right on track,” Stefanski said, per Mary Kay Cabot of “He’s right where he is supposed to be, so I’d anticipate that he’s throwing this spring with us.”

Reporters also asked Stefanski whether Watson will be full-go as the starter come the regular season in September. The coach was optimistic, but hedged his bets with months between now and Week 1.

“We’ll see [Watson] in April and we’ll just continue that rehab,” Stefanski said. “I’ll stay out of it, and the doctors and trainers will tell me when he’s ready.”

Deshaun Watson Throwing With Browns TE David Njoku in Los Angeles

David Njoku has had a big turnaround with the Browns.

Getty ImagesDavid Njoku has had a big turnaround with the Browns.

Cabot offered some updates of her own the day before, including where Watson is putting in his work and with whom.

Tight end David Njoku and Watson’s private quarterbacks coach, Quincy Avery, both flew out to Los Angeles for the big event at UCLA, and all went according to plan.

By all accounts, Watson is in a great spot in his rehab, and on track to start the season. He’ll be in Cleveland for most or all of the offseason program, which begins April 15 with two weeks of conditioning, and runs through the mandatory minicamp in June.

The Browns won’t rush Watson, but he’s expected to throw during organized team activities, which includes 11-on-11s, and the minicamp.

Deshaun Watson Will Return to New Wide Receiver, New OC in Jerry Jeudy and Ken Dorsey

Jerry Jeudy

GettyFormer Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is the newest member of the Cleveland Browns wide receiver room.

Whenever Watson actually rejoins the Browns, he will have a new target at his disposal.

Cleveland recently added wideout Jerry Jeudy alongside 2023 Pro Bowlers Njoku and No. 1 wide receiver Amari Cooper via a trade with the Denver Broncos. The Browns then immediately extended Jeudy on a three-year deal, which will make him a staple of the team’s offense through the remainder of Watson’s contract — unless Cleveland decides to cut bait with Jeudy earlier.

Watson and his pass-catching trio will work under a new offensive coordinator in 2024, former Buffalo Bills OC and former NFL quarterback Ken Dorsey. Dorsey and Stefanski traveled to Los Angeles to meet with Watson in early March, which the head coach spoke about on Monday.

“Ken and I flew out there, spent 24 hours in L.A., went out to dinner with Deshaun. He’s in a great place physically,” Stefanski said. “Really, it was more of me checking in with him, and starting to develop a relationship with Ken was really the most important part.”

Dorsey will undoubtedly bring changes with him to Cleveland’s offense from what former OC Alex Van Pelt, now with the New England Patriots, ran for Watson over their two years together in Cleveland. However, Stefanski said he doesn’t expect there will be a significant learning curve amid the transition.

I wouldn’t say a huge learning curve. I do think it’s important that you challenge all of your players, Deshaun and everybody. I think you challenge them every year with something new. And that’s why I’m not beholden to one terminology or one way.

So, I don’t know if there’s going to be a huge learning curve for any of our players, but there is going to be some new things that we’re doing. New things in how we’re calling it, how we’re teaching some of our techniques.

Another change in 2024 will be to the backup quarterback position. Instead of bringing back Joe Flacco, the Browns will run with Jameis Winston as the team’s No. 2 signal-caller.

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