The NFL is reportedly preparing to angle for an “indefinite suspension” against Deshaun Watson https://t.co/xa6FGKkcvL
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 26, 2022
Going into these hearings with the arbitrator, retired judge, Sue L. Robinson, this is undoubtedly a conservative stance.
If Robinson agrees with that penalty, the NFL Players Association will appeal.
In the meantime, the Browns continue to plan for whatever contingency comes their way be it this week or later in the month of July.
If Watson is handed a stiff punishment such as an “indefinite” suspension, here are three ways this decision could directly impact the Browns.
1. Brissett Is Next Man Up
The Browns made a critical decision after the Watson trade.
— CleWest (@erjmanlasvegas) June 5, 2022
This indicates that the Browns were already planning for the contingency that Watson would be suspended and were more comfortable and confident with Brissett than Keenum taking the reins during that interim time.
Meet new #Browns QB2 Jacoby Brissett. Will he come through when called upon to be the guy we need while Watson is unavailable?
36 TD – 17 INT
Pass Yds: 7742
Passer Rating: 83.0
Rush Yds: 651
Rush TD's: 13
— Craig Fountain (@CraigAFountain) March 24, 2022
Brissett will enter training camp as QB1 and get the first-team reps so he is ready for Week 1.
2. Shop Around For A New QB2
All indications are that Joshua Dobbs is entrenched as QB3.
If Watson is out indefinitely and Brissett is bumped up to QB1, that means the Browns need a QB2.
And his name will not be Baker Mayfield.
Browns fans need to get it out of their head that Baker Mayfield owes them something.
He’s not going to play another down as a Brown. Jacoby Brissett is your QB2.
— Willie Lutz (@willie_lutz) June 13, 2022
This means the Browns will be in the market for yet another quarterback, sooner rather than later, to act as QB2 going into training camp.
3. More Distraction
An indefinite suspension of Watson creates yet more distraction for the Browns as they enter training camp.
This team has been living with far too many distractions since the 2021 issues that erupted with Odell Beckham Jr.
It means more questions for the current players to answer.
For the players who came to Cleveland because Watson was the Browns QB1, they will be asked more than once if they are still happy to be with the Browns.
The first one to come to mind is Jadeveon Clowney who said he came back to Cleveland to reunite with his former Texan teammate Watson.
Clowney signed a one-year deal; would he stay on in 2023 if Watson is out in 2022?
I think it’s a very interesting situation. For example, Jadeveon Clowney’s return was heavily impacted on Deshaun Watson coming to Cleveland. If Watson is suspended a year-plus, it won’t make a difference for the player this season… but maybe Clowney would sign back in 2023?
— Noah Weiskopf (@BrownsWithNoah) June 25, 2022
No matter what the Browns say, an indefinite suspension changes the dynamic of this team and puts a big hurdle in their path.
It makes climbing the mountain to playoff and potentially Super Bowl success even harder.