Amid Deshaun Watson’s uncertainty, the Browns sign Josh Rosen

Amid Deshaun Watson’s uncertainty, the Browns sign Josh Rosen


As the Cleveland Browns await a decision on a possible suspension for quarterback Deshaun Watson, they bolstered their depth Thursday by adding a notable name: Josh Rosen.

The 10th pick in the 2018 draft — which saw the Browns use the top pick on quarterback Baker Mayfield — Rosen began bouncing around the league almost immediately. The 25-year-old Rosen was traded after one season by the Arizona Cardinals, who used the first pick in the 2019 draft on Kyler Murray, and has also spent time with the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons.

Now Rosen gets a chance to continue his NFL career in Cleveland. The Browns decided to sign him, per multiple reportsafter working out Rosen and free agent AJ McCarron on Thursday.

At the very least, Rosen will give Cleveland a new arm during training camp, which opens at the end of the month. However, he could become more important if Watson were to receive a longer suspension.

The NFL held a disciplinary hearing last month for Watson, who was accused by more than 20 women of sexual conduct during massage therapy sessions while the quarterback was a member of the Houston Texans. The Browns traded for Watson in March and gave him a huge contract, but his debut with the team could be delayed. The NFL is pushing for an indefinite suspension of at least one year; the decision will be made by a disciplinary officer appointed jointly by the league and the players association, former federal judge Sue L. Robinson.

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In the event of a suspension, the Browns plan to start Jacoby Brissett, who they signed in the spring. The team then signed Joshua Dobbs, a 27-year-old who previously played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars.

More recently, the Browns traded Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers, ending speculation that they could retain their disgruntled former starter and restore his role in the event of a Watson suspension. The Browns traded former backup Case Keenum to the Buffalo Bills, leaving Watson, Brissett and Dobbs on their quarterback depth chart.

With Dobbs appearing in just six games over five seasons, including zero starts, Rosen’s greater experience — 16 starts in 24 career appearances — could persuade the Browns to put him next in line behind Brissett. For his career, Rosen has completed 54 percent of his passes for 2,864 yards, 12 touchdowns, 21 interceptions and a 61.1 passer rating.

After playing at UCLA, Rosen was considered a candidate to be drafted first in 2018. He ended up being the fourth quarterback selected, after Mayfield, Sam Darnold (drafted No. 3 by the New York Jets) and Josh Allen (drafted No. 7 by the Bills). Rosen took over as Arizona’s starter in the fourth game this season, but after he struggled to move the offense as the Cardinals went 3-10, they made the unusual decision to cut ties with him very early and traded him to Miami during 2019 draft after their selection of Murray.

News of Rosen’s signing by the Browns emerged hours after the 24-year-old Murray agreed to a five-year contract extension with Arizona worth $230.5 million, including $160 million in guaranteed money.

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