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ESPN: Jacoby Brissett, Not Baker Mayfield, Would Be Browns' QB1 If Watson Suspended

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJune 26, 2022

Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Even if new Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is suspended, don't expect the team to return to Baker Mayfield as the starter.

ESPN's Jake Trotter said on SportsCenter that Jacoby Brissett would be next up on the depth chart:

"The Cleveland Browns are still bracing for a significant suspension to their starting quarterback. If the NFL does suspend [Deshaun Watson], expect the Browns to enter training camp with Jacoby Brissett, not Baker Mayfield, as their starting quarterback. While Mayfield remains on Cleveland's roster, I've been told he has no intention of playing for the Browns again. Cleveland has no plans for this to happen either. Instead, in the event of a Watson suspension, look for the Browns to move forward with Brissett, the former Indianapolis Colt, as the starter at quarterback."

Brissett, who has made 37 starts over his six-year NFL career, signed with Cleveland on a one-year deal in March. He appeared in 11 games for the Miami Dolphins last season with five starts, totaling 1,283 passing yards, five touchdowns and a 78.1 passer rating.

Watson is the Browns' clear starter under normal circumstances, but his status is in question after accusations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct from 24 women who filed civil lawsuits against him. All but four of those women have agreed to settlements.

The NFL held its own investigation and is reportedly pushing for an indefinite suspension lasting at least one year for violating its personal conduct policy, per Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal. Watson is set to begin his disciplinary hearing Tuesday.

Mayfield would theoretically be a quality replacement as Cleveland's primary starter for the last four seasons. Despite his up and downs, he would be an upgrade over Brissett after totaling 3,010 passing yards and 17 touchdowns in 14 games last year.

The 2018 No. 1 overall pick is still unlikely to ever play for the Browns again after requesting a trade in March.

"The relationship is too far gone to mend. It's in the best interests of both sides to move on," Mayfield said in a statement to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Earlier this month, Mayfield was excused from the Browns' mandatory minicamp as the team looks to trade him.

It means if Watson is suspended, Cleveland will be left with only Brissett and Joshua Dobbs as options at quarterback.

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