PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Cleveland Browns‘ QB carousel has been spinning at a rapid pace over the past two weeks. Deshaun Watson and his $230 million guaranteed contract are in, former first overall pick Baker Mayfield is soon-to-be out, and former Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett is preparing to play just in case Watson gets suspended.
Kevin Stefanski explains Jacoby Brissett signing
The Browns are bracing for the possibility that Watson — who faces 22 open civil suits stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct — could receive some sort of punishment from the league, despite two separate grand juries failing to indict the QB on criminal charges. If Watson is suspended, the Browns will need a suitable replacement at QB to lead the offense in Watson’s absence.
Enter Brissett, a well-traveled veteran QB with 37 starts under his belt. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski believes Brissett is valuable to the QB room, whether he’s starting or not.
“Having a guy like Jacoby, who has been through it and started a lot of football games, he’s really a smart young man,” Stefanski said Monday at the NFL’s annual owners’ meeting. “Just getting to know him when we brought him in throughout the process, he’s going to be a good one.”
The Browns signed Brissett on March 19. He will be their backup QB and fill-in starter if Watson is put on the suspension list. Brissett, who started five games for the Dolphins last season, will look to rebound after a mediocre stint in Miami. He completed just 62.7% of his passes for 1,283 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.
Brissett could be forced to start if Deshaun Watson is suspended
Brissett signed a one-year, $4.65 million deal with the Browns, and he will need to take advantage of any opportunity he receives to keep his NFL career from cratering.
“We really value that backup quarterback position,” Stefanski said. “I certainly do, I know [Browns GM Andrew Berry] does. It’s an important role. That person has to be ready to get in there and win you a ball game on a moment’s notice.”
The Browns wanted to reinforce their depth at QB, and Brissett is considered a worthwhile upgrade over Case Keenum, who was traded to the Buffalo Bills last week. Brissett has comparable mobility to Watson, so if the franchise QB were to miss time, the entire offense wouldn’t need to change if the journeyman has to play.
Brissett is just 29, so if he can get some playing time and improve his woeful numbers from Miami, he might be able to get another shot at a starting gig down the road.