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Should the Browns trade for a QB with Deshaun Watson hurt?

With Deshaun Watson dealing with a lingering shoulder injury, we discuss if the Browns should make a move for a quarterback ahead of the trade deadline.

Cleveland Browns training staff evaluates Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 22, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8 of the 2023 NFL season. A lot is going on for the Browns as they head into the week with a 4-2 record and a dominant defense. The offense hasn’t been able to keep up as starting quarterback Deshaun Watson is dealing with a lingering shoulder issue.

Despite it being Wednesday, head coach Kevin Stefanski has already ruled out Watson so that he can focus on his recovery. P.J. Walker will start Sunday against Seattle. With the trade deadline less than a week away, should Cleveland make a move to bolster its quarterback room for the rest of the season if Watson continues to deal with his injury?

It depends on who is available. The Browns don’t need to put forth the draft capital or cap hit to go poach a team’s starting quarterback if they feel like Watson can avoid IR and return to form sooner rather than later. Cleveland would be looking for an upgrade over P.J. Walker, and there are some solid options. If they feel like Watson will need to either hit injured reserve or can’t be ready to be back under center in the next handful of weeks, the Browns should pull the trigger and make a trade while they can.

The Arizona Cardinals have opened the 21-day window for quarterback Kyler Murray. They acquired Joshua Dobbs from Cleveland as their interim starter while Murray was on injured reserve. The Browns could look into getting Dobbs back due to his familiarity with the coaching staff and offense.

The New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers have veteran quarterback options that could be viable. Jameis Winston (New Orleans) and Andy Dalton (Carolina Panthers) aren’t being utilized in their respective roles and would provide more upside to the Cleveland offense than Walker. Winston is supposedly backing up Derek Carr, but when Carr has missed time, they usually go with do-it-all quarterback Taysom Hill to provide the offense some versatility. Carolina’s best offensive performance of the season came when Dalton filled in for Bryce Young, but he remains the backup. The Panthers let Walker walk in free agency when they signed Dalton, so they at least believe Dalton gives their team a better chance. If the Browns feel the same way, Dalton shouldn’t be difficult to acquire.