Who is the Browns' starting QB for the first six games?


Jacoby Brissett is a name Cleveland Brown fans have familiarized themselves with this NFL offseason.

And that's because he'll be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1 when the Browns travel to take on the Carolina Panthers. It's not a job Brissett is expected to hold all season.

Brissett is getting paid to backup starting QB Deshaun Watson, who Cleveland gave a whopping, guaranteed $230 million to in March following a trade with the Houston Texans. 

That deal did land Cleveland its quarterback of the future while simultaneously landing the franchise in a bit of muddy water short term. Following the recommendation by U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson on Monday, Watson is facing a potential six-game suspension after being accused of sexual misconduct by 24 massage therapists.

The league and union have the option to appeal. But if the suspension is upheld, Brissett will open the season under center for Cleveland.   

Let's take a look at the Browns' QB depth chart of the 2022 NFL season:

Who is the Browns' backup QB for 2022 after Deshaun Watson's suspension?

Jacoby Brissett will start at least the first six games for the Browns in 2022. If Watson's suspension is appealed by the NFL, then Brissett -- a former New England Patriot and Miami Dolphin QB -- could find himself under center for an extended stay.

The Browns signed the 29-year-old Brissett to a one-year deal the day after trading for Watson. The six-year veteran started five games for the Miami Dolphins last season while Tua Tagovailoa was injured. Miami went 2-3 in those games, with Brissett throwing for 1,089 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions as starter. 

Brissett has started 37 games over his six-year career, primarily with the Indianapolis Colts. Brissett filled in for an injured Andrew Luck in 2017, with the Colts finishing 4-12. He then replaced Luck as the Colts' starting quarterback in 2019 following the Pro Bowl quarterback's sudden retirement, guiding Indianapolis to a 7-9 record. That season, Brissett completed 60.9 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,942 yards and a career-best 18 touchdowns. 

Where did Jacoby Brissett go to college?

Brissett spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Florida, appearing in 13 games, primarily as a backup quarterback. He then transferred to North Carolina State University in 2013 and, after sitting out one season under transfer rules, became the team's starting quarterback in 2014. In two seasons with North Carolina, Brissett completed 59.9 percent of his passes while throwing for 5,268 yards, 43 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Brissett was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. With Tom Brady suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo injured, Brissett started Week 3 and Week 4 as a rookie for the Patriots, who went on to win the Super Bowl. He was traded in 2017 to the Colts for wideout Phillip Dorsett and spent four seasons in Indianapolis.  

What does the Browns quarterback depth look like in 2022?

Backing up Brissett during Watson's suspension will be either Joshua Dobbs or Josh Rosen. 

In April, the Browns signed Dobbs, a former Steelers backup selected by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The 27-year-old Dobbs has not started a game during his career, completing 10 of 17 passes for 45 yards and an interception in six games with the Steelers. Dobbs was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019. He was waived the following year and returned to the Steelers.    

Rosen, whom the Browns signed in July, is a former first-round pick who was selected No. 10 overall by the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. He spent just one season with the Cardinals, going 3-10 in 13 starts and finishing the season with 2,278 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The Cardinals got the first pick in the 2019 draft and selected quarterback Kyler Murray, which led to Rosen getting dealt to the Miami Dolphins. 

Which NFL teams has Josh Rosen played for?

Rosen, after being traded from Arizona to Miami, spent just one season with the Dolphins, primarily as backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Rosen appeared in six games, losing all three starts, and finished the season with 567 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions. He was waived by the Dolphins in 2020 after the team drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick. 

Rosen spent time with the practice squads for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers. He was activated for the 49ers' final two games of the 2020 season but did not play in either. 

Rosen, after being waived by the 49ers, was signed in 2021 by the Atlanta Falcons to serve as backup to longtime starter Matt Ryan. He appeared in four games during relief duty, competing 2 of 11 passes for 19 yards and two interceptions.

Rosen has appeared in 24 games over his career, making 16 starts. He has completed 54 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,864 yards, 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. 

How much is Deshaun Watson's contract with the Browns?

After Watson was acquired by the Browns in March, he signed a record-breaking, fully-guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract, which included a $44.965 million signing bonus. The deal set the record for the largest guaranteed contract in NFL history, but with a suspension looming, Watson's salary for the 2022 season was set at just $1.035 million. Per Pro Football Talk, if Watson's six-game suspension stands, he will forfeit $345,000 in salary. Watson will make $46 million per season in each of the following four years.   

Brissett's one-year deal with the Browns was for a guaranteed $4.65 million, which included a $3 million signing bonus, per Spotrac. 

When was the last game Deshaun Watson played?

Watson, drafted No. 12 overall in the first round of the 2017 draft, played four seasons with the Texans. In his final season as starting quarterback with the team, he set career highs in completion percentage (70.2 percent), passing yardage (4,823 yards) and touchdown passes (33). The Texans, however, finished just 4-12.

His last game with the Texans was in the regular-season finale on Jan. 3, 2021, which the Texans lost to the Tennessee Titans by a score of 41-38. Watson completed 28 of 39 passes for 365 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

He orchestrated an eight-play, 58-yard drive to set up the game-tying field goal with 18 seconds remaining. Ryan Tannehill then connect with A.J. Brown for a 52-yard completion that help set up Sam Sloman's game-winning 37-yard field goal as time expired. 

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