The former MVP is among the best options to replace Browns’ Deshaun Watson

The Cleveland Browns may be the only NFL franchise capable of beating arguably the league’s best team, the Baltimore Ravens, and they have yet to hear analysts declare just three days later that their season is in jeopardy.

The doubts surrounding the Browns (6-3) are tied solely to quarterback Deshaun Watson’s season-ending shoulder injury.

Cleveland announced Wednesday, Nov. 15, that it will bring back rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson under center, despite former third-string QB P.J. Walker has gotten the most snaps thus far during Watson’s previous absences.

Neither name inspires much confidence among Browns fans after their previous mistakes this regular season.

A third spot at the position is now open and Cleveland will add another signal-caller anyway.

The organization could go cheap and sign a practice player, or they could relegate Walker to the practice squad and sign a veteran who has real winning experience at the NFL level.

To that end, Awful Annancing’s Ben Axelrod on Wednesday suggested Matt Ryan, the NFL’s most valuable player in 2016, as Watson’s replacement.

“After going unsigned following an uninspiring 2022 season with the Indianapolis Colts, Matt Ryan announced he would be joining CBS as an analyst for the 2023 season,”

Axelrod wrote. “Even then, [Ryan] made it clear that he was not technically retiring from the NFL and would be willing to return to the field in the right situation.”

Matt Ryan remains interested in returning to the NFL

Getty Quarterback Matt Ryan, former Indianapolis Colts. Ryan discussed the possibility of returning during the 2023 campaign during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio in May.

“All the stars should align,” Ryan said. “I just learned… not to close doors in the 15 years I’ve been playing.”

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported in late September that Ryan’s agent had approached the New York Jets about working with the team following Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles injury and struggles of Zach Wilson after taking over the reins of the organization.

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Additionally, Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz have expressed interest in joining the Jets ⬇️

“There are a few other options that have contacted the Jets, veterans like Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz, to offer their services,” Glazer said.

Wentz has since signed with the Los Angeles Rams, making Ryan one of the few potential free agents Cleveland has available who has both experience and a winning track record.

And while the situations aren’t identical, the Browns offer some of the same advantages that likely interested Ryan in the Jets.

The Browns have arguably the best defense in the NFL, allowing 242.7 yards per game. Despite losing Nick Chubb early in the season, Cleveland continues to run the ball well, producing 147.9 rushing yards per outing.

That ties the Browns with the Miami Dolphins for second place in the NFL, behind only the Ravens. Dorian Thompson-Robinson and P.J. Walker did not earn a starting spot for the Browns

GettyDeshaun Watson (left) and Dorian Thompson-Robinson (right) of the Cleveland Browns.
It may feel like the sky is falling in Cleveland, but it doesn’t have to be. The Minnesota Vikings are a perfect example.

After losing Kirk Cousins ​​for a year, the Vikings traded for journeyman Josh Dobbs, who led them to two straight wins.

The trade market is closed until March, but there are still free agency opportunities. Ryan is one of the best and doesn’t need to recapture his MVP form to be worth a flyer for the Browns.

Thompson-Robinson started one game for Cleveland in Week 4 against the Ravens. He passed for just 121 yards and gave up three interceptions.

The coaching staff has given Walker enough playing time to know who he is: a guy who can make occasional big plays and generate some hope, but ultimately a player who can’t be trusted to protect the ball or produce big moments .

He is completing just 49% of his passes and has thrown 1 touchdown compared to 5 interceptions.

His record as a starter in Cleveland is 1-1 and the Browns are 2-1 in games in which Walker has played the most snaps, but the team has won more despite Walker than because of him.

Ryan or a player like Cam Newton gives Cleveland a veteran option who at least previously had elite talent and who won’t fail in a big moment just because that moment is big.

The Browns have nearly $33.6 million in salary cap space heading into Wednesday and owe it to the rest of the team and fan base to take on a QB who can at least offer some hope of playoff success.

Max Dible covers the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Golden State Warriors for He covered local and national news as a reporter for West Hawaii Today and served as news director

for and Pacific Media Group’s Big Island family of radio stations before joining Heavy. More information about Max Dible

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