4 players the Cleveland Browns can't bring back in 2024

The Cleveland Browns have been solid in 2023 and can be even better in 2024. However, these four players can't be brought back next year.

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Cleveland Browns / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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1. Joe Flacco, Quarterback

Joe Flacco has been everything Cleveland hoped he would be and more. Signed just ahead of Thanksgiving, Flacco has now started three games and has 939 yards and seven touchdowns. His five interceptions need to be addressed but three of those came in the win over Chicago, so he still fought back despite the adversity.

His ability to take the offense to new heights after not playing all season has brought up questions about Deshaun Watson. After being traded from Houston, Watson missed the first 11 games of the 2022 season due to suspension. He was out for the entire 2021 campaign with Houston, meaning he had 700 days between starts.

Since then, all we've heard about is how he needs to shake off the rust. Thankfully, he was doing exactly that and had one of his best performances in his final start, which was a win over Baltimore. He was then lost to a shoulder injury and Flacco began his NFL redemption story.

As is often the case, this has led to some interesting discourse. One question is what the Browns will do next season. One fan even asked Mary Kay Cabot what would happen if Flacco led Cleveland to a Super Bowl win this year, and her response was dead-on.

"Nothing like dreaming big, right? But stranger things have happened in the NFL! If Flacco wins his second career Super Bowl, the Browns will have to give serious thought to keeping him around beyond this season. But Deshaun Watson, who averages $46 million a year with the Browns over the next three seasons, will unequivocally return next season as their starting quarterback."

As MKC says, Watson is the starter. His contract isn't movable and he was technically 5-1 as the starter htis year – although he had just five attempts in one of those wins. The problem is that as long as Flacco is under contract, there will be those who want him to take over — especially if Watson struggles at all.

Like it or not, athletes have huge egos – they wouldn't get where they are if they didn't. That means the Browns have to continue to show Watson they believe in him. That would mean moving on from anyone deemed a threat to him and since the No. 2 quarterback is often the most popular player, that means Flacco is highly unlikely to return in 2024.

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