Deshaun Watson is likely going to miss more than his initial six-game suspension. Judge Sue L. Robinson’s decision was curious to many. The NFL believes it should have been much harsher. Therefore, the league is appealing the suspension. It believes it has a strong case to get more games for the embattled quarterback.
If that happens, then the Cleveland Browns could be without their quarterback for most, if not all, of a season in which they’re primed to compete. They have two top-tier running backs and just added Amari Cooper to the mix. Therefore, losing Watson would be a tough blow.
The former quarterback-turned-activist has not played in the NFL since 2016 and didn’t have a sterling season then. However, he adamant about wanting to play football again. Despite his lack of playing time, he might represent an upgrade for the Browns’ backup situation.
One of the biggest issues with signing Kaepernick is the PR it would bring. A lot of positive and negative PR for any team would come with this. The civil rights activist has many haters and supporters.
However, even the negative PR Kaepernick would bring is probably not as bad as the negative PR the team has gotten for trading for Watson. He is accused of assaulting 24 women, yet the Browns signed him to a massive extension.
What the Browns can do if Watson misses the season
Watson is signed for five years. Although he might miss 20% of the contract, it’s not the end of the world because the Browns signed him for now and the future.
However, it would be a disaster for a Browns team that intends on contending right now. They were a playoff team just two years ago and even won a game. After upgrading the offense, they intended to go all in for a deep playoff run.
Without Watson, that’s a lot more difficult, but there are options.
For starters, Jacoby Brissett has started full seasons before and was serviceable. Letting him play every game in their starter’s absence is not the worst idea.
Jimmy Garoppolo is still available via trade. If they wait long enough, he may be released by the 49ers.
The 2015 NFL MVP, Cam Newton, is a free agent, and the Browns were reportedly monitoring his status.
Needless to say, the Browns’ quarterback situation continues to be an on-going saga.