A mere day ago, it was reasonable to talk about the Cleveland Browns potentially making a run to the Super Bowl.
Those hopes are effectively dashed, short of a hail mary move potentially salvaging the campaign.
Deshaun Watson is out for the year, the team announced Wednesday morning. He sustained a shoulder injury during Sunday’s win over the Ravens, with an MRI revealing a displaced fracture to the glenoid. He’ll get season-ending surgery to correct the issue. According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Watson wanted to play through the injury, but another hit to that area would cause the shoulder “to fall apart.”
Watson had begun putting things together and the Browns, with their stellar defense, were looking like a legitimate contender. But now with the trade deadline passed, the Browns are left with either P.J. Walker, Dorian Thompson-Robinson or a free agent as their options at quarterback.
Reacting to the news, 92.3 The Fan’s Ken Carman said they have to go get a free agent.
“Call Philip Rivers, get Matt Ryan out of the booth. I’m serious, I’m dead serious about this, I’m in full-on desperation mode. Call Bernie (Kosar), I don’t care," Carman said. "You’ve got to call anybody you can. Andrew Berry is going to be available at 10:15 this morning, he better be on the phone between now and 10:15 this morning. And then he better be on the phone afterwards, and you better find a way to get Matt Ryan or anybody out of the booth. I don’t care. I know how crazy and desperate I sound, but that’s where we’re at right now. …
“I’m in full-on desperation mode. The weight of this is huge, it’s infinite. Right now I’m being very understanding, but I know we’re not going to be understanding if they go out and lose to Pittsburgh, and I know we’re not going to be understanding if they go through the rest of their schedule and lose football games and we find ourselves out of the playoffs. I mean, it’s all up for grabs now.
“We do understand what’s at stake here with everybody, right? … You’ve been through this tug and pull. I’ve got the defensive player of the year, he’s in year seven. I’ve got Denzel Ward, where I think every year I have with him is a gift because he gets hurt a couple times a year. I’ve got Nick Chubb who had surgery yesterday, I don’t know when in 2024 he’s going to be back. We’re going to dark places here. Andrew has got to go find somebody, you’ve got to get this figured out.”
The most painful part of it all for the Browns is they cut Josh Dobbs loose earlier in the season, and he’s looked like a world-beater since. If they were to go the nuclear route and try to pull someone out of retirement, it would take quite a turnaround from said player to keep the offense afloat.
Rivers hasn’t played since 2020, and Ryan retired following last season -- a year in which he underwhelmed with the Colts and lost the starting job. Other free agents with legitimate starting experience include Nick Foles, Joe Flacco and Colt McCoy.