Shemon & Sheppard – In The Afternoon

Shemon & Sheppard – In The Afternoon

Shemon & Sheppard – In The Afternoon

Deshaun Watson

The Cleveland Browns have a big problem this year, and his name is Deshaun Watson. The franchise gave up 5 draft picks over the 2022 and 2023 draft to bring in the quarterback. They then followed that massive trade up with a fully guaranteed $230 million dollar contract. The Browns have mortgaged their future for a player that might not see the field until the 2023 season. Other than that, there is reason to be excited for Cleveland Browns football in 2022. But even the biggest Browns fan can admit this is a massive cloud hoovering over the organization. Deshaun Watson is not the only question mark on the roster this season. Backup Running Back Kareem Hunt requested a trade on August 8th. Hunt is clearly the RB2 in Cleveland behind Nick Chubb. I don’t envision Hunt getting traded.

Not All Doom and Gloom

It’s not all doom and gloom in Cleveland though looking at the Cleveland Browns preview. The team traded for former Cowboys WR Amari Cooper this offseason. It never worked with Baker throwing to OBJ and Jarvis Landry. If Deshaun gets on the field this season, the connection with Cooper should be one of the most prolific in the league. If this team can find a passing attack to compliment a very good ground attack, this offense should take a step forward. The rushing attack has ranked 4th and 3rd over the past 2 seasons, due in large part to the talented 2 headed attack of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

Deshaun Watson Suspension

The Cleveland Browns team preview is one of the more difficult ones because of the Deshaun Watson situation. For the purposes of this exercise I will assume Watson gets a 12 game suspension. I think the NFL wants him gone for the season, but ultimately the league will settle to keep in on the sidelines through the first weekend in December.  Pair that with a hefty fine, and the NFL can live with that outcome.

  • Schedule Breakdown

    Watson and Cooper Cleveland Browns Preview

    Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

    9/11 @ Carolina Panthers
    9/18 vs. New York Jets
    9/22 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Thursday Night Football)
    10/2 @ Atlanta Falcons
    10/9 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
    10/16 vs. New England Patriots
    10/23 @ Baltimore Ravens
    10/31 vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Monday Night Football)
    11/6 BYE
    11/13 @ Miami Dolphins
    11/20 @ Buffalo Bills
    11/27 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    12/4 @ Houston Texans
    12/11 @ Cincinnati Bengals
    12/17 vs. Baltimore Ravens (Watson’s first game back)
    12/24 vs. New Orleans Saints
    1/1 @ Washington Commanders
    1/8 @ Pittsburgh Steelers

    Most Browns fans thing they will start 2-0, nope! Baker and the Panthers beat the Browns week 1, but they should be good enough to get their home opener against the Jets. That will be the start of a 3 game winning streak with a home Thursday night game against Pittsburgh and at Atlanta. Their 4 games headed into the bye week are home games against the Chargers, Patriots and Bengals with a road game at Baltimore. 0-4 in that stretch. The 3 games out of the bye week are difficult too with road games against Miami and Buffalo and a home game against Tampa Bay. Without Watson they’ll go o-3 here. They’ve got a win against the Texans on 12/4, but lose their final game without Watson at Cincinnati. Once Watson comes back, they’ll lose the home game against Baltimore, but win the final 3 games of the season against the Saints, Commanders, and Steelers.

    Prediction: 8-9

  • Key Additions

    Brissett Watson Browns Preview

    Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

    QB Deshaun Watson (trade from Houston Texans)

    WR Amari Cooper (trade from Dallas Cowboys)

    QB Jacoby Brissett (Miami Dolphins); 1-year/$4.65 million

    WR Jakeem Grant (Chicago Bears); 3-year/$10 million

    DT Tavon Bryan (Jacksonville Jaguars); 1-year/$3 million

    P Corey Bojorquez (Green Bay Packers); 1-year/$1.5 million

  • Fantasy Outlook

    Nick Chubb Cleveland Browns Preview

    Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

    Nick Chubb is the safest fantasy player on the Browns roster. I’ve got him as a borderline RB1/RB2 entering 2022. If Kareen Hunt gets traded, then his value goes up, but I don’t think that will happen. Hunt has his own value in the fantasy world. He is definitely worth being rostered, but with unless Chubb goes down with an injury, his ceiling is limited to goal line touches. Amari Cooper is a WR3 with Brissett throwing him the ball. With Watson he would be a low-end WR1. Under this scenario of a week 14 return, he could be worth keeping all season in hope of showing up for the playoffs. But keep an eye on how many games Watson is suspended for. TE David Njoku is a backup. Nothing more. I think the Browns defense is worth drafting because they start the season against Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold, Zach Wilson, Mitch Trubisky or Mason Rudolph, and Marcus Mariota.

  • Best Case Scenario

    Myles Garrett Cleveland Browns Preview

    Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

    I don’t know how it happens, but if the Deshaun Watson suspension stays at 6 games, Browns fans would rejoice. If that happens then the Brown immediately turn into contenders for the division, or compete for a Wild Card spot at worse. If the suspension is for the 12 games that I think will happen, then best case is ending the season on a 4 game winning streak and providing the organization with some positive momentum going into 2023.

Sign me up for the ESPN Southwest Florida email newsletter!

You love listening to ESPN Southwest Florida, now make sure you’re getting all the extra perks. Sign up today to be an ESPN Southwest Florida Insider!

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.