Will Browns make a play for Deshaun Watson?

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The season hangs in the balance for the 7-7 Brown as they prepare for a Christmas Day date with the Packers in Green Bay. After the season ends, difficult questions regarding the quarterback position will slide to the front burner.

Who will the quarterback be in 2022, and beyond?

Baker Mayfield‘s status feels tenuous, from both the perspective of team and player. The Browns could be ready to look for an upgrade. Mayfield could be ready to find a new destination. The context continue to be Mayfield’s unsettled contract situation, which consists of one more season (his fifth-year option) at $18.8 million.

A second contract that carves out a second tier could be in order for Mayfield. As recently observed on PFT Live, however, second-tier also means second rate. Is that what the Browns want?

They may want more. Albert Breer of SI.com recently suggested in an appearance on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland that the Browns will make a play for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, if he becomes available in the offseason. PFT recently reported that the criminal investigation regarding Watson is expected to be resolved by late January. The civil lawsuits still linger, however.

All options should be on the table for the Browns, from keeping Mayfield for one more year without an extension to signing one of the free agents who will become available to making a trade to drafting a replacement. Along the way, the Browns may have to trade Mayfield in order to avoid more of the dysfunction that seems to be lurking behind the scenes, if they try to move forward with both Mayfield and his eventual replacement on the team at the same time.

Whatever happens, it’ll be happening before you know it. The new league year officially begins on March 16, and trades routinely are unofficially negotiated weeks in advance.

Before that, the Browns have three games. After Saturday in Lambeau, they face the Steelers for both the final Monday night of the year and Ben Roethlisberger‘s final regular-season home game in Pittsburgh. The Browns wrap things up with a visit from the Bengals. Whether they make the playoffs again and what they do if they get there will be a major factor in what happens in 2022.

If they don’t qualify for postseason games, they’ll be punching their ticket for potential offseason drama at the most important position on the field.

Will Browns make a play for Deshaun Watson? originally appeared on Pro Football Talk