The Joe Flacco era was fun for a while, but following the Cleveland Browns‘ blowout loss to the Houston Texans in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs, something became awfully clear: the Browns need Deshaun Watson back.
Watson’s 2023 campaign was derailed due to a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery, but head coach Kevin Stefanski says that the quarterback is making significant progress.
“Yeah, he’s doing great in rehab,” Stefanski said, via Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. “I’m confident he’ll be ready to roll this spring. He’s chomping at the bit, but he’s doing everything he’s supposed to do when it comes to what the doctors are telling him and as he rehabs through this. But, he’ll be ready to roll.”
Watson played in just six games this season, throwing for 1,115 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 61.4 percent of his passes and posting a passer rating of 84.3.
Cleveland acquired Watson in a historic trade with the Texans back in March 2022 and proceeded to hand him a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract.
Watson was suspended due to the first 11 games of 2022 due to allegations of sexual misconduct. In the six games he played during his debut campaign with the Browns, he looked pretty rusty, totaling 1,102 yards, seven touchdowns and five picks while completing 58.2 percent of his throws and registering a passer rating of 79.1.
The 28-year-old, who played his collegiate football at Clemson, was originally selected by Houston with the 12th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.
He spent his first five seasons with the Texans, although he sat out the entirety of the 2021 campaign. During his time in the Lone Star State, Watson made three trips to the Pro Bowl. In 2020, he led the league with 4,823 passing yards. He also tossed 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions that season.
Cleveland went 11-6 this year, with Flacco going 4-2 as a starter (including playoffs) after taking the reins under center in December.
Next season, however, Deshaun Watson will almost surely be taking snaps for the Browns.