Will Browns QB Deshaun Watson only serve the six games or will he be given more? If given more, what will this mean for the Browns in 2022?
Just a few months after trading away six draft picks and dishing out a whopping $230 million to land Deshaun Watson, the Browns QB will be sidelined for the first six weeks of the 2022 season. Former federal judge Sue L. Robinson ruled Monday that Watson should be suspended for six weeks after hearing testimony regarding Watson’s alleged off-field conduct. Watson faced civil lawsuits from 24 different women accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct. There were talks amongst the league officials/NFLPA that Watson could’ve been suspended 12 games and received an $8 million fine. The NFLPA said it will not appeal the decision but the NFL overall still has the right to appeal.
What Are The Browns/Watson’s Next Steps?
First things first, Watson is only losing $345,000 total from his game checks during his suspension. He will reportedly keep the rest of the money with no penalty, for now at least. In addition to Watson’s contract, there is a disclosure form that addresses “paragraph 42,” which, in the contract, refers to allegations already made. It protects Watson from losing any guaranteed money if he’s suspended for the 2022 or 2023 seasons and also prevents the Browns from voiding the contract if he were suspended.
Clearly, the Browns have no intention to move on from Watson. They are viewing these six games as a small delay in Watson becoming their franchise QB. If no further discipline is on the way, the only step now is for Watson to stay in game-ready shape and wait. The Browns clearly knew a suspension was on the way and that does not matter.
The Browns QB Room Will Need To Step Up
Without Watson, the Browns will now look to backup QB Jacoby Brissett to lead the team through the first six weeks. Those six weeks include at Panthers, vs. Jets, vs. Steelers, at Falcons, vs. Chargers, and vs. Patriots. Watson will then join the team again on Oct. 23 when the Browns visit the Ravens in Week seven.
Cleveland also has Josh Dobbs and now former first-round pick, Josh Rosen. Brissett locked up that “temporary starter” job most likely. It is also not out of the question for the Browns to make a splash and trade for Jimmy Garoppolo to get him out of San Fran. The way I see it, Cleveland has plenty of options to try and survive until week seven.
Browns First Six Weeks Without Watson
Now it is time to break down each game the Browns will play without Watson. Do the Browns stand a chance in any of those games, who will take over, etc. The Browns still have all of their other key players on offense. From newly acquired Amari Cooper to star running backs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the Browns will be fine for most of these games. Let’s break down the Brown’s first six weeks.
Week One– Away Game vs Panthers: I think the Browns will play well without Watson. I like Jacoby Brissett to win the starting job due to his experience. Brissett has 37 career starts in New England, Indianapolis, and Miami and now he gets another chance with the Browns. This will be a watched game mostly because it is the revenge game for Baker Mayfield to take on the Browns. Mayfield is now in Carolina playing for the Panthers. I still think the Browns have the better team despite having no Watson.
Week Two–Home Game vs Jets: Despite the Jets having a phenomenal draft, they still will not be very good in 2022. Brissett and company will likely be getting into some sort of rhythm as a team overall. This is also the first home game of the year and Brissett will want to prove to the Dawg Pound that he can lead this team until Watson returns.
Week Three–Home Game vs Steelers: The first big test of the 2022 season comes against division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Luckily the game is in Cleveland but the Steelers are a younger team now that Big Ben is retired. We could see Pittsburgh’s star rookie Kenny Pickett starting in this game. That being said, going into Cleveland and winning a big divisional game this early, is tough. I like the Browns to once again defend their home turf.
Week Four–Away Game vs Falcons: The Browns will then go on the road to take on a new look Falcons team. Four weeks into the season and we could see a Browns team ready to compete with anyone. If they win their first three games as I said, I do not see any reason for the momentum to stop in week four. The Falcons will make this a good game but I still think the Browns are the better team here.
Week Five-Home Game vs Chargers: The next big test for the Browns will be a home game vs the LA Chargers. This is the first matchup so far where the Browns will not be the better team. The Chargers are already on the cusp of being an elite squad. They went and added some high-quality defensive players and paid some offensive players to stick around. The Browns will have their first loss of the year in week five, unfortunately.
Week Six–Home Game vs Patriots: The final game without Deshaun Watson will be one final home game versus the New England Patriots. The Patriots are going to be a curious team in 2022 considering they just traded away one of Mac Jones’ wide receivers. That being said, I think the Browns can take down the Patriots in an impressive fashion. Brissett will want to give one final big performance before giving the starting role back to Deshaun Watson. Give me the Browns to improve to 5-1 in the first six weeks.
If you want my opinion on this, I do not think Watson was given enough games on his suspension. He also was not fined and him losing only $345,000 in six games is pathetic. The NFL suspended players more games for far less and that is a horrible look. The NFL wants this storyline to be put to bed and that does not sit well with me at all.
Once again, the priority that a star player should get back on the field making millions and millions of dollars is more important than disciplining them correctly, what a joke. Do better NFL and I hope Deshaun Watson recognizes that only a six-game suspension is him getting off essentially scott-free and he still is going to make $230 million dollars in the next five years. I could go on and on but that will not change the reality of this situation both for Watson and the women involved. Hopefully, this is the last time we see something like this but that is highly unlikely.
Will the Browns stay afloat until Watson returns? Comment below and join the discussion!
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