Baker Mayfield trade: Who will play QB for the Browns if Deshaun Watson gets suspended?
The Cleveland Browns have traded Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers. Who will be the Browns’ quarterback in the event that Deshaun Watson is suspended?
The team situation of Baker Mayfield has been made clear with the Carolina Panthers acquiring him from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
What remains uncertain is whether Deshaun Watson will be able to play for the Browns in the 2022-23 NFL season. The outcome of Watson’s NFL disciplinary hearing over lawsuits filed against him for sexual misconduct and abuse is not yet clear.
Resolution of Watson’s hearing to take time
Retired federal judge Sue Robinson, who is arbitrating the proceedings, has asked the NFL and the NFL Players Association to file post-hearing briefs next week, so it looks like a resolution is not forthcoming in the immediate future. Robinson appears to be taking all the time she needs to come up with a comprehensive and a well-informed decision.
The Browns would like to see the issue settled as soon as possible, as they begin training camp on July 27. At this point, they still do not know if Watson can be their quarterback for the next season.
Now that Mayfield is clearly out, the team has one less option for their starting quarterback. With the possibility of Watson getting suspended, Cleveland is likely to turn to Jacoby Brissett, who was reportedly signed by the Browns under the assumption that they would only need him as a backup while Watson served out his suspension.
Other options for the Browns
However, it is also possible that the 26-year-old will be handed a longer suspension that the team had originally anticipated. The Browns are reportedly comfortable going with Brissett as their starter for the season.
Joshua Dobbs is also on Cleveland’s roster, but he is only expected to play backup to Brissett, as he has not played a game in two years.
The franchise could still fortify its depth chart by acquiring a passer either through a trade or free agency.