Browns Release QB After Deshaun Watson Returns to Team

Kevin Stefanski

Getty Images Head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns have released former top 10 pick Josh Rosen from their practice squad, thinning out what had become a very crowded quarterback room.

Rosen’s release on October 10 comes on the day Deshaun Watson was eligible to return to the Browns’ facilities during his 11-game suspension. Watson can participate in team meetings, meet individually with the coaches and work out at the team’s facility. He can start practicing with the team on November 14 and will make his debut on December 4 against the Houston Texans.

“We’ll work through what we’re allowed to do with him for the foreseeable future,” Browns coach Kevin Stefansk said Monday. “He’s in the meeting rooms with our guys. … Which is great for him and for us to have him back with his teammates.”

With Rosen gone and Watson on part-time duty, the Browns still have Jacoby Brissett, Joshua Dobbs and Kellen Mond on the depth chart.

Rosen is in his fifth year in the NFL and has completed 53% of passes with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in 24 games and 16 starts. He was the 10th overall pick of the Cardinals in the 2018 draft but has struggled to find a permanent home.

Rosen went 3-10 as the starter in Arizona as a rookie, tossing 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He was replaced by Kyler Murray the following year and has been on the move ever since. He’s played for five different teams since being drafted and will now be looking for a sixth.

The Browns also waived tight end Miller Forristall, who started the year on the practice squad but was signed to the active roster on October 1. He had appeared in two games but was inactive against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. The Browns recently signed Pharoah Brown to occupy the third TE spot behind David Njoku and Harrison Bryant.

Watson in ‘Good Spot’ After Being Away From Browns

Watson has watched the Browns 2-3 start from afar, staying in shape and working on his own with his personal quarterback coach Quincy Avery. Stefanski was pleased with the work Watson has done.

“He’s in a good spot,” Stefanski said. “I think he worked real hard, was in [Cleveland], working locally, making sure he was staying on top of it physically. So now he’s just got to catch up a little bit in the meeting room.”

Watson did not play a snap last season with the Texans as his legal case unfolded. This offseason he settled 23 of the 24 lawsuits against him alleging sexual assault and inappropriate sexual misconduct duing massage sessions. He was initially handed a six-game ban by independent arbiter Sue L. Robinson, but the league appealed and the sides settled on a 11-game ban and $5 million fine.

“I’ll continue to stand on my innocence, just because, you know, settlements and things like that happen doesn’t mean that a person is guilty for anything,” Watson said August 18. “I feel like a person has an opportunity to stand on his innocence and prove that, and we proved that from a legal side, and just going to continue to push forward as an individual and as a person.”

Watson has a trio of Pro Bowl seasons to his name, including a career year in 2020, when he passed for a league-high 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

Browns Still Have Faith in Jacoby Brissett

The Browns were in another winnable game on Sunday against the Chargers but some late miscues sealed their fate. The most notable was an interception from Brissett at the goal line that voided the opportunity to kick a field goal that would have given the Browns the lead.

“I have a lot of faith in Jacoby. I think he is playing well, and that was a bad play,” Stefanski said. “He knows that. He is beating himself up about that. He is making some big plays in these games, both with his arm and with his feet, to give ourselves a chance to go score points or whatever it is. Jacoby will be in those moments again. It might be this week or it might be the following week, and I expect him to come through.”

Brissett has thrown for 1,060 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions this season, notching a QB rating of 85.4. He’s exceeded expectations in a lot of ways but has been unable to provide the plays down the stretch that have been the difference between winning and losing.

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