The Cleveland Browns may know if their starting quarterback will be available in 2022 as early as this week. What will the outcome be
News broke late last week that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will have his meeting with the NFL this Tuesday to discuss his punishment for his off-field lawsuits. At this time, 20 of the 24 civil suits have been settled, but the water is still muddy.
Will the NFL put out a precise suspension, or could it be indefinite with outstanding cases to be settled? Will Watson be available for any portion of the 2022 season or will he miss it in its entirety? These questions and more which have been debated all offseason should be answered this week.
Truthfully, I’m not even sure what to believe about the expectation of the punishment. When the trade was first announced people thought it would be anywhere from four to eight games. Then a month ago everyone said the entire 2022 season. Last week I heard it wouldn’t be the full season, but likely eight to ten games. And now the word “indefinite” suspension is being floated around.
One thing that is clear, Baker Mayfield will not be playing quarterback for the Browns in 2022.
Even if Andrew Berry can’t find a way to trade him, there is a zero percent chance the two sides will work out their differences, and Mayfield plays.
If Watson is suspended for most or all of the 2022 season (which I’m starting to believe more and more), Mayfield staying and playing would be the best outcome for both sides, but it just won’t happen. Some guys could handle the awkwardness of that situation, but Mayfield feels betrayed by the organization and would only cause further damage.
At this second, Jacoby Brissett would be the next man up. He has had some success with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, but for much of his career, he has been a backup. In his first two seasons in the league, he was 5-12 as a starter but has had more success in the last four seasons with a 9-11 starting record.
The big question Berry will have to answer is if Watson is suspended for the year or indefinitely, is anyone out there better available?