The Cleveland Browns just got the worst possible news. Following his best performance since arriving in Berea, they announced Deshaun Watson would miss the remainder of the season, as he’ll have to surgically repair his shoulder. He’ll be back in time for the start of the 2024 NFL season, but it’s still a significant bump.

The Browns failed to address their need for an upgrade at the backup QB position before the trade deadline. They reportedly didn’t want to meet the Washington Commanders‘ steep price for Jacoby Brissett, even though he was already familiar with the offense, and there were doubts about Watson’s durability.

HC Kevin Stefanski has already announced that rookie fifth-round pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson will start on Sunday’s divisional clash vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, with P.J. Walker as his backup. Needless to say, that’s far from an ideal setting.

However, NFL insider Mike Florio revealed that the Browns could still work behind closed doors and convince the Tennessee Titans or Las Vegas Raiders to release Ryan Tannehill or Jimmy Garoppolo, which would be against the rules, but still possible.

Browns Could Still Get Tannehill Or Garoppolo

Both players would have to pass through waivers, given that the trade deadline has come and gone. Both players, given their contracts, would likely not attract a waivers claim, Florio explained.

The report also explained the financial implications of getting either of those players. Truth be told, neither of the teams would have a big incentive to release them unless they knew for sure that the Browns would be interested in claiming them off waivers:

“Tannehill has a $27 million base salary for 2023. He has $12 million remaining. And if he’s released and clears waivers, he could be entitled to collect the balance of the salary as termination pay, the report continued. “Garoppolo’s salary for 2023 is $11.25 million ($5 million remaining). He has $11.25 million in fully-guaranteed salary for 2024. If he’s released and not claimed, the Raiders would be on the hook.”

It’s Against The Rules, But Not Impossible

Of course, this could only happen if the Browns find ways to let them know that they want their veteran QBs. Needless to say, official communications would be off the table, but there are always other alternatives:

“But what if the Browns get word to either team that, if the player is released, the Browns would claim the player on waivers? It would be unenforceable, and most likely a violation of the rules,” wrote Florio. “So what? Stuff like that happens all the time. If the Browns want either guy, there’s a way to get the message to the teams that, if they would be released, they would be claimed on waivers.”

Adding Tannehill would make more sense because of his expiring contract, as Watson will be back in 2024, so there’s no need for Garoppolo beyond that. It’s a long shot, but if they don’t like what they see from Dorian Thompson-Robinson on Sunday, we wouldn’t rule it out at all.

SURVEY Should the Browns pursue a veteran?

Should the Browns pursue a veteran?