Today the Browns play the Broncos in Denver and no matter what kind of season the Broncos are having, it's always a tough place to play. The Browns are built for this with great defense and that should keep them in most any game. Although, huge kudos to DTR who played well enough to win a big game at home. But the Browns QB situation is an interesting one.
Lets talk about that for a second. With Watson missing the rest of this season, it got me thinking about the future of the Browns and his role. This year Watson showed very little of the great player many claim he was in Houston. Same goes for last season after he returned from suspension. But there have been flashes of greatness, but most would agree, not enough of them. A lot has been made of his "lack of reps" in practice and games, and I agree. It's hard not to play and expect great play from a QB in the NFL. So we look to next season, using this year and the last two seasons as our historical guide.
If his surgery and rehab goes well and he's cleared to start camp on time this is the scenario. He will enter the 2024 season having played in only 11 of the last 51 regular season NFL games since 2021. I'm not beating on him, I'm stating math facts. Remember, he sat out the entire 2021 season on his own because of his problems with the Texans, and they were glad to let him if you remember. Then in 2022 he was suspended for 11 games for the massage therapist scandal. Now this year, it's a pair of shoulder injuries that have him missing the balance of this season. You can't help injuries, no one can fault him for that. But things could have handled very differently by him in 2021 and 2022.
Watson is 28 years old and has 3 more years on his contract. So we have to ask, if the lack of reps and rust that he has been shaking off for the past 1.5 years, will it continue next season? Very possibly, that's been his track record. So if he's healthy, stays healthy, gets on the field, by about 6 games into the schedule NEXT season, should we see the old Watson? That's about the best outcome with his own history being our guide. If that ends up being true, his 235 million dollar contract will be about half over.
The contract Watson signed will follow and dog him here forever. Being honest, I personally couldn't care less about his money, the contract is not a factor to me. But for many the only thing that will take away that bad taste is a Superbowl WIN! Fans here are living paycheck to paycheck, they spend big money to watch the Browns and many are not happy with Watson and his Bezos-sized bank account, then watching him sit yet again.
But Watson is in a position of his own volition. Again facts, he sat out 2021 out of personal anger. He sat out most of 2022 because of personal bad behavior and now he's injured. It's fair to remember, he had zero interest in playing here until "fully guaranteed" showed up.
That single decision, by the BROWNS and not him, will dog the Browns for years, as other owners are still ticked off and will be in zero hurry to help us out with trades or transactions. So we put faith in a great defense to keep us in the fray as we make a playoff push without the guy acquired to lead it. It's also fair to point out the Texans used the Browns front office to put on a clinic on how to rebuild a franchise that was in shambles. And they get to do it one more time in 2024 as the trade will finally conclude.
Is the trade a bust? I honestly feel no one can say yes or no yet. Being fair, the final answer will come at the end of 2026.