Deshaun Watson in Miami against Tua Tagovailoa would’ve been storylines galore

Deshaun Watson, Browns. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]
Deshaun Watson, Browns. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] /

Before the suspension of Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Deshaun Watson was increased to 11 games, it stood at six games. Had the original six-game suspension stood, Watson would’ve made his Browns debut on the road against Lamar Jackson and the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens, the Browns’ biggest rival.

The following week, Watson would’ve made his “Dawg Pound” debut on Monday Night Football against Cleveland’s in-state and division rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, who were just a play away from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy last season.

Furthermore, Watson would’ve been eligible to play in this week’s matchup in South Florida against QB Tua Tagovailoa, wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and the 6-3 Miami Dolphins. If Watson was eligible to play against the Dolphins in Miami this week, the storylines surrounding this game would be fascinating and the Browns would be in a better position to make a run toward the playoffs.

Prior to the release of the 2022 Browns schedule, the NFL schedule makers had the opportunity to pit two of the biggest off-season trade acquisitions against each other in a high-profile matchup. Keeping in mind the craziness that ensued this past offseason, it seemed likely the Browns and Dolphins would match up early in the season.

That would have put the Browns’ acquisition of Deshaun Watson, prior to the suspension increasing to 11 games, against the Dolphins’ acquisition of Tyreek Hill in the national spotlight.

Before all the shenanigans surrounding Watson came to light, rumors were swirling around nonstop that Miami was going to trade for Watson to replace Tua as the starting quarterback. Had it worked out that both QBs could’ve been playing in this game, their press conferences leading up to the game would have been fascinating to watch.

Both quarterbacks would’ve gotten barraged with questions surrounding these trade rumors. How would Tua and DW have handled these questions? It’s true that the quarterbacks would not have been on the field at the same time, but they would have been looking across the field at each other during pre-game.

Coming out of their bye week, the Browns have to endure an extremely difficult three-game stretch: At Miami, at QB Josh Allen (depending on his injury status) and the Buffalo Bills, and vs. the “GOAT” Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At 3-5, the Browns sit in third place in the AFC North behind the Bengals and Ravens.

Cleveland is 0-1 against the Ravens and 1-0 against the Bengals. They will look to avenge their 23-20 loss to Lamar and the Ravens when Baltimore comes to town in Week 15, which will serve as Watson’s “Dawg Pound” debut. The Browns will look to complete the sweep of Cincinnati in the “Jungle” in Week 14.

Going into their Week 5 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Browns should have been 4-0. Instead, they were 2-2. Had Watson been the starting QB from the word go, the Browns could have very well been 6-2 as they face the 6-3 Dolphins this week, adding to the entertainment value of the game. Since the NFL likes to feature high-profile games in primetime, this game could very well have been flexed into Sunday Night Football and replaced the LA Chargers at the San Francisco 49ers.

Despite the matchup between Watson and Tagovailoa not coming to fruition, as the NFL had other ideas, it’s still a very intriguing game that is a must-win for the Browns. Cleveland faces Miami, Buffalo, and Tampa Bay in the next three games.

With the way the AFC playoff picture is shaping up, the Browns have slim to no room for error. They must win at least two of these next three games in order to give DW a realistic chance at coming in as the Browns’ starting quarterback and making an impact in the final few weeks beginning in Week 13 at Houston and ending in Week 18 at Pittsburgh.