Trade Pitch Reunites Browns With Former Starting Quarterback

P.J. Walker, Browns

Getty Quarterback P.J. Walker of the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland Browns fans have seen about all they need to see of backup P.J. Walker, as the time has come for an upgrade in the quarterback room.

The Browns appear to be in serious need of another signal-caller following the demotion of rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the continued injury concerns of starter Deshaun Watson. Jacoby Brissett started 11 games for Cleveland in Watson’s absence in 2022 and has yet to see the field this year after leaving to compete for the Washington Commanders‘ starting job during the offseason.

Cleveland has invested so heavily in Watson that as long as he is hovering around the starting job, it doesn’t make sense to add a bonafide and expensive starter like Kirk Cousins. However, the Browns need a better insurance policy than Walker behind Watson, who has sat essentially as much as he has played in 2023.

Brissett can be that player. He already knows the offense and is familiar with most of the personnel after earning a 4-7 record under center in Cleveland last year.

Deshaun Watson’s Injuries, P.J. Walker’s Deficiencies Putting Browns’ Season at Risk

Deshaun Watson, Browns

GettyCleveland Browns medical staffers attend to quarterback Deshaun Watson after an apparent injury during an NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts in October 2023.

The Browns eked out a win over the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 39-38 on Sunday, October 22, despite Watson leaving the game in the first quarter with a head injury. Team doctors cleared Watson of a concussion, though head coach Kevin Stefanski decided to keep his starter sidelined for the remainder of the game.

“I did not want to put him back out there,” Stefanski said. “He cleared concussion protocol but I wanted to protect our franchise quarterback. It was my decision.”

Stefanski added that Watson will start next weekend when Cleveland travels to play the Seattle Seahawks.

“He’s our starter moving forward,” Stefanski said. “He’s our starter in Seattle. It’s always going to be my decision to protect our players.”

That the team expects Watson to start in Week 8 offers little relief after the showing he produced in Indianapolis on Sunday. Watson was 1-of-5 passing for 5 yards and an interception. He came close to throwing a second pick on the play during which he was injured.

Walker entered the game and proceeded to complete less than 50% of his 32 pass attempts, gaining 178 yards and throwing an interception. Walker was 18-of-34 for 192 yards and 2 interceptions last week in his start against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Browns won both contests featuring Walker at the wire, but operating without a solid replacement for Watson is the equivalent of playing with fire. Eventually, Cleveland is going to get burned.

Jacoby Brissett Should Be Available to Browns via Trade

Jacoby Brissett, Commanders

GettyQuarterback Jacoby Brissett of the Washington Commanders runs on the field prior to an NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons in October 2023.

The Commanders aren’t likely to give away Brissett on the cheap, as they need a backup QB behind Sam Howell as well. However, if Cleveland is willing to come to the table with a Day-3 draft pick ahead of the NFL’s October 31 trade deadline, that might be enough to get a deal done.

Cleveland netted a 2024 fifth-round pick by trading quarterback Josh Dobbs to the Arizona Cardinals ahead of the regular season. The Browns could turn that asset around and offer it to the Commanders for Brissett, who have clearly decided that Howell is their QB of the future.

Brissett completed 64% of his passes for Cleveland last season, amassing 2,608 yards, 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions across 11 starts and 16 games played.

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