Dobbs played eight games for the Arizona Cardinals to begin the 2023 season after Cleveland traded him away and he just won back-to-back games for the Minnesota Vikings after being traded from the Cardinals.
But in an alternate timeline, Dobbs could be taking over for Deshaun Watson, who will now miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Dobbs spent 12 games with the Browns in 2022 before Watson returned from his 11-game suspension for multiple sexual assault allegations and was re-signed by Cleveland this past offseason before the Browns sent him to Arizona. He never took a regular-season snap.
Dobbs said he’s not interested in “what ifs,” though. The Vikings quarterback said he actually spoke with Watson a day before his surgery announcement and wished his former teammate a fast recovery.
“I don’t really live in the world of hypotheticals. I kind of just stay right here,” Dobbs said Wednesday. “Obviously prayers for Deshaun in his surgery. I wish him a speedy recovery. … But does my mind wander to what ifs? No. I have so much on my plate just in preparing for each game, especially this game against a really good defense, that I got to stay right here, stay present in it all and worry about my situation here and making the most of it.”
Dobbs orchestrated two incredible wins for the scrappy Vikings squad: A Week 9 comeback against the Atlanta Falcons where Dobbs scored three total touchdowns in relief of starter Jaren Hall just five days after the trade from the Cardinals and then a Week 10 over the New Orleans Saints.
There were rumors the Browns inquired about re-acquiring Dobbs from the Cardinals before the trade deadline on Oct. 31. With Watson’s 2023 injury history and the Browns’ playoff hopes, it made sense Dobbs even said he thought the Browns were an option at the deadline, alongside the Vikings, but NBC Sports’ Mike Florio denied Cleveland was in on a trade for their former backup quarterback.
Browns general manager Andrew Berry refused to say whether or not Cleveland tried to trade for Dobbs as well. Berry also refused to comment on the decision to cut and trade Dobbs in consecutive season as well in light of Dobbs’ 2023 success.
“I’m not really focused on that right now,” Berry told reporters Wednesday after the Watson surgery announcement. “We do have a lot of confidence in our current QB room. We’re 6-3 and focused on this playoff push. We’re focused on the Steelers. There will be a time for reflection for everything over the course of the year, but that’s really not top of mind right now.”
Instead of Dobbs, the Browns will start fifth-round rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson for the second time this year. He started Week 4 over an injured Watson in a 28-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Now, he’ll face the Pittsburgh Steelers in another AFC North clash with huge division and playoff implications on the line.