CLEVELAND — For months, uncertainty has surrounded the Cleveland Browns' quarterback position. But on Thursday, the team received some closure with the announcement that the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have reached a settlement on an 11-game suspension and $5 million fine for Deshaun Watson.
So what's next?
While veteran Jacoby Brissett is currently slated to start in Watson's place -- and is already taking first-team snaps for the Browns -- the length of the suspension has led some to speculate that Cleveland could consider alternatives. Most notably, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains available as the team moves forward with Trey Lance as its starter.
Acquiring Garoppolo via trade would likely be tricky, as the 30-year-old signal-caller is currently owed a $24.2 million salary for the 2022 season. It's also worth noting that Garoppolo's salary becomes guaranteed if the 49ers keep him past the Aug. 30 roster cutdown, making it likely that he will be released if he is not traded by then.
Asked on Thursday about his team's quarterback situation in the wake of Watson's 11-game suspension, Browns general manager Andrew Berry downplayed Cleveland's need to acquire another signal-caller.
"We brought in Jacoby. We feel very good about Jacoby," Berry said. "We like what we've seen throughout the spring, we like what we've seen throughout the summer. So we have a high degree of confidence in him."
Berry, however, also added: "No different from any other position on our roster. We'll continue to evaluate our team over the course of camp. But we're really pleased with Jacoby."