The Cleveland Browns announced Deshaun Watson would start their preseason game Friday, leading to questions. Watson may not get the chance to take the field.
Appeals officer Peter Harvey may have something to say about that. Watson could be suspended indefinitely prior to Friday. Cleveland announcing Watson would start puts pressure on Harvey to act quickly. According to Pro Football Talk, here’s a plausible scenario:
Harvey may be waiting as long as possible to issue a suspension that would block Watson from playing Friday night, given the possibility that the NFL Players Association will rush to court for an order allowing Watson to play. If, for example, Harvey issues his ruling just before 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, the NFLPA will have roughly 120 minutes to get a temporary restraining order.
Regardless, everyone now knows that Watson will play on Friday night. Unless Harvey decides that he can’t — and if the NFLPA is unable to block the enforcement of that ruling in court.
Cleveland has talent up and down the roster and wouldn’t go into the season with Jacoby Brissett as the starter, no matter what the coaches say. I refuse to believe that. Enter Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo is a starter in this league. He may not be a top-10 quarterback, but he’s an upgrade for at least a handful of teams, including the Watson-less Browns.
Per Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland will consider acquiring Garopoplo if Watson’s six-game suspension significantly increases upon appeal. Cabot mentions how the Browns are awaiting the ruling of Harvey. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is seeking a minimum year-long ban for Watson, who would have a chance to apply for reinstatement after the 2022 season.
If a deal does go down, the compensation will be fascinating. Jimmy is a one-year rental. Cleveland doesn’t have a first-round pick since they sent that in a Watson trade. They have a second, but it’s unlikely they’d be willing to part with that pick, given that Garoppolo is temporary. So if I’m John Lynch, I’m asking for Cleveland’s third, fourth, and potentially fifth-round pick.
What do you think it would take to get a deal done?
The asking price listed above might be too much on the surface, but the Browns will be in between a rock and a hard place. Neither team has much leverage, but if Cleveland doesn’t want to get into a bidding war, parting with Day 3 picks shouldn’t be that much of an ask.