What Browns Signing QB Josh Rosen Means For Deshaun Watson

by Patrick Norton

Less than a week before the Cleveland Browns’ veterans report for training camp, the team is signing some quarterback insurance. While the fate of Deshaun Watson remains up in the air, Cleveland inked NFL journeyman Josh Rosen to a one-year deal. Without holding up a sign that says “THIS IS INSURANCE”, the actual signing is as close as we get.

The league and Browns still await a decision from appointed disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson. However, the hearing concluded weeks ago, and the lack of resolution creates uncertainty in either direction. While some reports suggest a ban between two to eight weeks, the final result could range between no suspension and an indefinite ban.

That’s where the signing of Rosen comes into play. If Watson is unable to dress for Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers, it becomes the Jacoby Brissett show. For a franchise seemingly incapable of snapping an 18-year Week 1 losing streak, Brissett causes palpitations. Rosen doesn’t pose a threat to Brissett’s status as QB2, rather he brings along an experienced arm capable of handling a few snaps.

Appearing in just 24 games with three teams over four years, Rosen failed to catch on anywhere. Drafted by Arizona only to have a new regime take Kyler Murray No. 1 overall in the following draft, the Miami Dolphins picked up Rosen as a low-risk, high-reward prospect. One touchdown and five interceptions later, Rosen sat buried on a San Francisco practice squad before backing up Matt Ryan in Atlanta in 2021.

While some believe Rosen deserves another shot to compete for playing time, if Watson becomes active relatively early in the season, it’s possible Cleveland cuts ties with the journeyman QB. But Cleveland could be tipping its hand, calling in reinforcements before the Watson news drops.

Cleveland Had a Better Backup Before Rosen

Josh Rosen is a fine QB3 and even a suitable backup if Watson cannot play. However, Cleveland shipped out a quarterback from the same draft class with far better production just over two weeks ago. Sending Baker Mayfield out of town on a rail to save money makes minimal sense.

The Browns lose a bona fide starting caliber quarterback to save a few bucks. But if Watson misses time and the team rolls with Rosen and Brissett for the foreseeable future, is burning the bridge worth it in the long haul?