The Browns were on cloud nine following their 33-31 win over the AFC North-leading Ravens in Week 10. However, their season seems to have come to a screeching halt with the latest update on QB Deshaun Watson.
Watson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the first quarter against Baltimore and will have surgery to repair it, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
To Watson’s credit, he wanted to play through the injury and sought multiple medical opinions but doctors determined that “if he got hit again in the same spot, the shoulder could fall apart.”
A full recovery is expected but Cleveland now has a huge question at the most important position. Backup quarterbacks PJ Walker and Dorian Thompson-Robinson have combined for just one touchdown and eight interceptions this season while completing just 50 percent of their passes, per ESPN’s Field Yates.
Hindsight is always 20/20 but the Browns must be kicking themselves for trading QB Joshua Dobbs, who has set the league on fire, to the Cardinals in August for just a fifth-round pick.
With limited options left in free agency, Cleveland will now have to rely on its stout defense, which ranks first in yards allowed (242.7) and passing yards allowed (151.1), fourth in points allowed (16.9), tied for fourth in sacks (30) and tied for fifth in interceptions (nine).
However, the Browns’ chances of winning the division and making the postseason have fallen dramatically in a competitive AFC North. Never say never, but it will certainly be an uphill battle for the rest of the season.
As for Watson, Cleveland is left with several questions that won’t be answered until 2024. After signing him to a five-year, $230M fully guaranteed contract, he has played a combined 12 games over two seasons, earning $92M ($7.7M per game), per ESPN Stats & Info.