Yesterday’s pivotal news that Baker Mayfield will be leaving Cleveland to play for the Carolina Panthers is just another domino in the ongoing saga surrounding Deshaun Watson.
To recap, the Browns traded three first round picks and several other draft picks to the Texans for Deshaun Watson. Watson was at the time facing 22 civil cases for sexual assault and is presumed to be suspended for the upcoming season. Cleveland already had Baker Mayfield, their 2018 first overall pick and foreseeable franchise quarterback, before the trade ensued. The trade didn’t sit well with Mayfield, who instead of playing for one season while Watson sat out, requested a trade from the team.
Woof, that’s a lot of context. While the Panthers and Browns evaluate their new hands, the Texans come out of this trade with a better outlook than before.
The Browns trade QB Baker Mayfield to Carolina.— Adam Winkler (@AdamWinkABC13) July 6, 2022
This means if (when?) Deshaun Watson is suspended, Jacoby Brissett and/or Joshua Dobbs will play QB for Cleveland.
Reminder: The Texans have Cleveland's 1st round pick in 2023... https://t.co/XUuAVUssMq
Houston holds the Browns’ 2023 and 2024 first round picks along with their 2023 third round and 2024 fourth round pick from the Watson trade. The consensus is that Watson will be suspended for the entire 2022 season. If that’s the case, then QB Jacoby Brissett would be the incumbent to the position. Browns also have Josh Dobbs, but that’s a ‘break in case of emergency’ option if Brissett doesn’t pan out. The Texans are all to familiar with Brissett, in 2016 he led the Patriots to a 27-0 victory over the Texans. Then in 2017, he threw for 308 yards against us in a commanding 20-14 win. Brissett is still just 14-23 in his career as a starting QB.
Sure, the NFL can still flub this Watson situation, but the league knows it must handle this decision with the utmost care. The immediate impact on the Texans is completely contingent on Watson’s suspension. If Watson’s out, the Browns’ season is done. It’s a simple equation: the worse the Browns do, the better the picks is for the Texans.
For example, if the Browns end the season at 6-11 the Texans would have approximately the 8th pick in the draft.
The Browns enter the season facing the 8th hardest schedule according to Sharp Football Analysis. They’ve also lost OBJ, Jarvis Landry, Troy Hill and Austin Hooper without gaining much in return. A depleted offense with either Brissett or Josh Dobbs at the helm will not win many games.
The Browns still have Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and Amari Cooper on offense who are all more than capable of winning games without a quality QB. However, for the sake of the Texans future and possibility for two top-10 draft picks, Texans fans can only hope the Browns continue to be the Browns for a couple more years.