Browns QB Deshaun Watson returning to practice with shoulder injury, Cardinals game starter unclear

Injured Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson walks onto the field during warmups before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Seattle. 

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson returned to practice Wednesday after missing three starts and missing most of four games with a right shoulder injury.

This is an important step for Watson, who did not practice at all last week due to the injury he suffered on September 24. 

Coach Kevin Stefanski said Watson will be limited in practice as the Browns (4-3) begin preparing on the field for the Arizona Cardinals (1-7), who have their own carousel of quarterback.

Stefanski isn’t ready to make a decision on his starting quarterback this week. He said if Watson, who has a rotator cuff strain in his throwing shoulder, is unable to play, P.J. Walker will face the Cardinals on Sunday.

Walker made two starts in place of Watson, who has played in just 10 of a possible 24 games since being acquired by Cleveland in 2022.

Walker threw three interceptions – the last with two minutes remaining – in the 24 loss. -20 from last week in Seattle. 

Arizona’s QB situation is also constantly changing. Kyler Murray could return soon after being sidelined following knee surgery.

Earlier this week, first-year coach Jonathan Gannon said rookie Clayton Tune would start, but nothing is concrete as that occurred before the team traded backup Joshua Dobbs to Minnesota before the deadline on Monday.

3 Cleveland Browns ready for renewal before the end of the championship year

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The Cleveland Browns currently have 21 players scheduled to become free agents in March 2024.

While an extension or release could be discussed for many of them, three specific players have proven to be key assets to the team’s success.

Delpit got off to a slow start in Cleveland due to an Achilles injury suffered during training camp in his rookie year that caused him to miss the entire 2020 season.

After surgery and months of rehab, he became a full-time starter in the second half of 2021. He performed admirably in many respects, but overall he was inconsistent.

He started to make progress in the 2022 season in terms of overall performance and production, especially during the last 9-10 games of the season.

He is thriving so far in 2023 under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

He has an overall PFF grade of 73.8 and currently allows one of the lowest completion percentages when targeted in pass coverage.

If he continues on the path he’s on, he will undoubtedly be on this year’s Pro Bowl roster.

While it will be a challenge for the Browns to pay Delpit, they should at least try to make it work. He’s the type of player that teams can usually “find” money for.
Current expected value: $12,386 million per year

Maurice Hurst

This speaks for itself.
Hurst was one of the most important and impactful free agent signings of the 2023 offseason.

His technical abilities and speed as a passer and run stopper made him almost unblockable at times. He has an overall PFF grade of 87.9, making him one of the highest-rated defensive linemen in the league regardless of position.

While he’s been incredibly productive thus far, he shouldn’t “break the bank” for Cleveland moving forward.
Current projected value: $4.688 million per year

Sione Takitaki

Takitaki was the epitome of consistency when he was on the field for the Browns during his first five years in the NFL.

Although he entered the league as a preteen, he found his niche as a true off-ball linebacker for the team.

He showed the ability to play all three linebacker positions, as well as a sub-package passer with his hand in the dirt for Cleveland. He also plays a pretty big role on special teams, which definitely adds to his overall value.

Sione Takitaki is more than worthy of an extension, and like Hurst, he shouldn’t ask for too much money.
Current projected value: $2.74 million per year.



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