Could a mediocre 2024 spell the end of Browns tenure for Deshaun Watson?

Analyzing the recent moves by Andrew Berry; is it possible the Cleveland Browns could move on from Deshaun Watson after 2024?
Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has declared that he's progressed exceptionally well from the fracture in his throwing shoulder that ended his season. He went as far as to say he will be primed to start Week 1 of the 2024 NFL season.

In March, the Browns decided not to offer a contract, or even discuss one, with fan favorite QB Joe Flacco, who led the Browns on a magical run into the postseason last year. Instead, Cleveland signed former Saints QB Jameis Winston, and Ravens backup QB Tyler Huntley. Couple that with the recent reports that the Browns are interested in adding a rookie QB, and the questions begin to formulate.

It appears as if there are two specific possibilities that Browns general manager Andrew Berry is considering; either Watson is not as healthy as he says, or we're on the cusp of Watson's last chance in a Browns uniform.

Winston and Huntley are exceptional backup options; the issue isn't with either. They seem to fit what head coach Kevin Stefanski wants on offense and I fully acknowledge that the playbook was most likely different under Flacco. Both players give Cleveland continuity in case Watson suffers another injury, due largely, to their similar play styles.

The matter in question is more their ability, and potential to both be starters on a team in the NFL. Why sign both of them? Cleveland hasn't typically kept three QBs active throughout the season in recent years, so is that the plan this year? Battle it out for second and third-string QB?

Think for a second, why Cleveland may not have asked Flacco back. Imagine a scenario where Watson is struggling on the field, and the hero of Cleveland is ready to come in at any moment's notice to be the hero once again. I can hear the stadium at this very second, the chants, the boo's; it's no wonder why Joe Flacco wasn't offered a contract.

If the free-agent additions weren't enough; it's rumored that Cleveland is interested in adding another QB through the draft. The most prominent names include Joe Milton of Tennessee and Michael Pratt of Tulane. So, now we have Deshaun Watson, Jameis Winston, Tyler Huntley, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and a rookie QB.

It's beginning to look quite crowded, on paper at least. Andrew Berry and the front office may be simply trying to make the weakest room on the team last year, the strongest this year. It's also not outside the possibility that Berry is just preparing for worst-case scenarios on the inquiry front. It's safe to say that of all the possibilities, we will likely only find out when or if it happens. Berry is pretty good at keeping his moves close to the vest, and not revealing any intentions, and keeping his "need to know" circle quite small.

Where facts are non-existent, and possibilities exist, we can only speculate on what the intentions of others are. The counterargument, against Watson being moved post-2024, is obvious, his contract. Yes, it is true that Watson still has three years remaining at just south of $47million per year.

However, it wouldn't be the first time Cleveland conducted such a transaction. Remember in 2017, Cleveland traded for Houston Texans QB Brock Osweiler and a late-round pick, in exchange for a second-round pick. In that trade, Cleveland essentially bought an additional second-round pick for roughly $16 million. Do you know who the vice president of player personnel was? You guessed it; current GM Andrew Berry.

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