The interminable wait for official word on the Deshaun Watson suspension continues. The trial balloon floated about in the last couple of days has been eight games, but we really don't know for sure. What seems pretty certain is the Cleveland passing game will be pretty bad until he's available.
Each day we get treated to stories about whether the Browns are or aren't interested in a different available quarterback. Trading for Jimmy Garoppolo is a made-up one I don't understand. With what draft picks? And why take on another huge veteran contract for just a half season (or full season, at most) fill-in? They're paying a portion of Baker Mayfield's contract, too, remember.
But they apparently kicked the tires on Cam Newton, and then made another uninspiring signing yesterday: Josh Rosen. Perhaps they can one day trade him to Carolina, to give the Panthers all of the top-10 quarterbacks from the 2018 NFL Draft who aren't remotely as good as Josh Allen.
Rosen joins Jacoby Brissett (and Joshua Dobbs, though he's not gonna start) in a competition to start for however long Watson is suspended for. It will probably be Brissett. Rosen has the draft capital, but he's been pretty ineffective with his chances since being drafted.
Since entering the league in 2018, Rosen has started 16 games, and has averaged 179 passing yards in those contests. That's worst among all quarterbacks to start at least 15 contests over the past four years, down there with Newton, Lamar Jackson (who was primarily a runner for most of his rookie-year starts), new Falcon Marcus Mariota...and of course, Brissett.
|PASSING YARDS PER GAME, 2018-2021 (UNDER 250)|
Mayfield also makes this list of sub-250-yard quarterbacks, as does Garoppolo (though at least he's at the top). So does Russell Wilson, for those who want to question his likelihood of being a star in Denver, although note Wilson threw about 30 more touchdowns than everyone else on this list. Josh Allen also appears, with his four-year numbers skewed down by his first two seasons. So maybe Rosen, too, can make a big leap.
But realistically it will be Brissett, with Rosen backing him up. And there won't be great passing production until Watson is finally available.