Cleveland Browns’ QB Deshaun Watson to Undergo Season-Ending Surgery

Posted on: November 15, 2023, 10:20h. 

Last updated on: November 15, 2023, 02:29h.

The Cleveland Browns have lost starting quarterback Deshaun Watson to a season-ending shoulder injury that requires surgery.

Browns Deshaun Watson injury
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, seen here getting sacked by Baltimore Ravens, will miss the remainder of the season because of a right shoulder injury. (Image: USA Today Sports)

Watson sustained the injury to his throwing arm in the second quarter during a comeback victory in Week 10 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Watson also rolled his left ankle but finished the game with the two gnarly injuries. Reporters spotted Watson exiting M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in a walking boot.

An MRI revealed that Watson suffered a displaced glenoid fracture in his right shoulder. The imaging also revealed that Watson sustained a high ankle sprain.

Watson wanted to play through the painful shoulder injury with the Browns fighting for a potential division title and a playoff berth. But team doctors persuaded Watson to undergo surgery because one forceful hit could pulverize his shoulder.

Since joining the Browns in a blockbuster trade with the Houston Texans, Watson has an 8-4 record as a starter, including a 5-1 record this season.

Watson completed 61.4% of his pass attempts this season for 1,115 yards and seven touchdowns. He rushed for 142 yards and another touchdown. He threw seven interceptions and was sacked 17 times.

The Browns lost starting running back Nick Chubb to a torn ACL in the second game of the season. Offensive tackle Jack Conklin is also on the injured reserve list with a knee injury.

DTR or PJ for the 6-3 Browns

The Browns are 1-2 this season when either rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson or veteran P.J. Walker started the game at quarterback.

Thompson-Robinson, a fifth-round draft pick from UCLA, began the season as a backup behind Watson. When Watson sustained a shoulder injury in Week 3, Thompson-Robinson was named the starter in Week 4. Thompson-Robinson struggled in a 28-3 loss against the Ravens in which he threw three interceptions and was sacked four times.

The Browns lacked confidence in Thompson-Robinson after his only start, so they signed Walker, who later went 1-1 as a starter this season. Walker also played in most of Week 7’s victory over the Indianapolis Colts when Watson was removed from the game in the first quarter.

Walker completed 49% of his passes this season for 618 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions.

The Browns now regret the decision to trade backup quarterback Josh Dobbs. The Arizona Cardinals acquired Dobbs from the Browns at the end of the preseason. Dobbs started for the Cardinals while Kyler Murray was still recovering from a knee injury.

When the Minnesota Vikings lost Kirk Cousins to a season-ending Achilles injury, the Cardinals traded Dobbs to the Vikings at the trade deadline on Halloween. The Vikings won their last two games thanks to Doobs, and they remain in the thick of a playoff hunt in the NFC.

Update: On Wednesday, the Browns named Thompson-Robinson as the Week 11 starter.

Browns Contend for ‘Smashmouth’ Title

The AFC North has a reputation for being the most physical division in the NFL, which is how it earned its “Smashmouth Football” designation.

Heading into Week 11, all four teams in the AFC North have a winning record. The AFC North is attempting to become the first division to send all four teams to the postseason by claiming all three AFC wild-card spots.

If the season ended today, the Baltimore Ravens (7-3) would lock up the division title and secure the #2 seed in the AFC. The Browns (6-3) and Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) would advance to the playoffs as a wild-card team, but the Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) would miss the postseason.

The Bengals are currently on the bubble, and the Houston Texans (5-4) would claim the final AFC wild-card berth.

According to a postseason projection by Upshot, the Browns have an 84% chance to advance to the playoffs. The Steelers have a 61% chance of reaching the playoffs, and the Bengals have a 44% chance.

Upshot also predicts that the Ravens have a 43% chance to win the AFC North. The Ravens have the best chance of winning the division over the Browns (31%), Steelers (18%), and Bengals (8%).

How Watson Injury Alters Futures

The news about Watson’s season-ending shoulder surgery had an immediate effect on the futures market. The Browns are now +5000 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII, but they were +4000 earlier in the week.

After the end of Week 1, the Brown saw their Super Bowl odds hit their best price at +1800. In the preseason, their title odds were +3500.

The Browns also saw their AFC Championship odds take a slight hit. They are now +2000 odds to win the conference and lock up a spot in the Super Bowl.

The Ravens are the betting favorite to clinch the AFC North at -115 odds. The Bengals are at +400 odds, followed by the Steelers at +425, and the Browns at +450. The Browns were second on the board at +375 odds before they made an official announcement about Watson’s injury.

The Browns are -250 odds to make the playoffs, and +200 odds to miss the playoffs, according to a recent update by DraftKings.

The Browns opened as a -3.5 favorite against the Steelers in Week 11. Oddsmakers made an injury adjustment to the line after the Watson news hit the airwaves. The line moved to -2 under the assumption that Walker would start. When the Browns named Thompson-Robinson as the starter in Week 11, the line moved again a full point but they still remain a favorite over the Steelers at -1.

The Steelers have a 6-3 record against the point spread (ATS), and the Browns are 5-3-1 ATS.