Deshaun Watson timeline: Browns QB’s tumultuous tenure with massive contract

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When the Cleveland Browns traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson, it was a move aimed to end the team’s longstanding struggles at the position. Instead, the contract has been nothing short of a disaster.

On Wednesday morning, the Browns announced that Watson would undergo surgery on his throwing shoulder, cutting his season short. Two years into the contract that made him the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history in terms of guaranteed money and average annual value, Watson will have started 12 games out of a possible 34.

Things have not gone as smoothly as Cleveland had hoped with their quarterback situation since they made the deal with Watson. Here’s a full timeline on everything that has happened so far.

March 18, 2022: Browns agree to terms on Watson trade with Texans

Cleveland traded its 2022, 2023 and 2024 first-round picks, 2023 third-round pick and fourth-round picks in 2022 and 2024 for Watson and a Houston 2024 sixth-round pick.

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March 18, 2022: Browns, Watson ink megadeal contract

Included in the terms of the trade was a massive extension for Watson: five years, $230 million, fully guaranteed. It is still the most guaranteed money in a contract in NFL history.

August 2022: Watson suspended six games, then 11

Senior United States District Judge Sue Lewis Robinson was designated by the NFL as the arbiter for Watson’s punishment for alleged sexual assault. She suspended Watson for six games to begin the 2022 season on Aug. 1. He would be allowed to participate in preseason activities.

Two days later, the NFL filed an appeal with the intent to extend the suspension for a full season.

On Aug. 18, the NFL and NFL Players’ Association reached a settlement that would extend Watson’s suspension to 11 games and fine him $5 million.

Nov. 28, 2022: NFL reinstates Watson, Browns add him to roster

One day after the Browns’ 11th game of the season, the NFL reinstated Watson from his suspension. Cleveland added him to its 53-man roster and cut fellow quarterback Josh Dobbs to create room.

Dec. 4, 2022: Watson makes first start for Browns

One week after he was reinstated from suspension, the Clemson product made his first start against the Texans in Houston. He completed 12 of 22 pass attempts for 131 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and had the worst passer rating of his career to that point: 53.4.

Dec. 24, 2022: Watson sets new career low

Against the Saints in Week 16, Watson completed just 15 of 31 pass attempts for 135 yards and an interception. He set a new career low that day with a 47.1 passer rating. Through four games on the Browns, the quarterback was 71-123 on pass attempts for 703 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Jan. 8, 2023: Browns end first season with Watson at helm

At the end of his first season in Cleveland, Watson was 3-3 as a starter. He had a career-low completion rate of 58.2% and a career-low 79.1 passer rating. He threw for 1,102 yards with seven passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown and five interceptions. Under Watson, the Browns had zero fourth-quarter comebacks or game-winning drives.

Sept. 24, 2023: Watson’s best Browns start

Watson made his best start for Cleveland against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3 of the 2023 season. He was 27-33 on passing attempts with 289 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His 123.4 passer rating on the day was the highest it had been since Week 16 of the 2020 season.

Oct. 2023: Watson suffers shoulder injury

One week after his best Browns performance, Watson had to sit out with a shoulder injury that had kept him limited in practice the week before. After a bye week, the quarterback missed the next game as well.

The Georgia native made it back onto the field for the Browns’ Week 7 game against the Colts, but only briefly. After taking a hit in the first quarter, Watson had to exit the game. He went on to miss the team’s next game as well.

Nov. 5-12, 2023: Two more games for Watson

Watson played in Week 9 and 10, completing 39 of 64 pass attempts across the two games for 432 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The Browns routed the Cardinals, 27-0, and the quarterback led his team on his first game-winning drive since 2019 in a 33-31 win over the Ravens.

Nov. 15, 2023: Browns announce Watson’s season-ending surgery

On Wednesday morning, Cleveland announced that Watson would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a displaced fracture in his right (throwing) shoulder. The Browns placed him on season-ending injured reserve and said they expect a full recovery by the start of the 2024 season.

Who is the Browns’ backup quarterback?

Cleveland has two healthy quarterbacks on its roster: veteran journeyman P.J. Walker and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

On Wednesday, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said Thompson-Robinson would start on Sunday against the Steelers.

When is the Browns’ next game?

The Browns play the Steelers at home in Week 11. The game will start at 1 p.m. ET and be broadcast on CBS.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY