Cleveland Browns 53-man roster projection includes few surprises

It remains to be seen how many games quarterback Deshaun Watson will play for the Browns next season. But when he is on the field, his No. 1 wide receiever will be former Dallas Cowboy Amari Cooper. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns open the 2022 season at the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 11.

The Browns finished the 2021 season 8-9 and missed the playoffs, prompting Cleveland to overhaul the quarterback position this offseason. Not only did the Browns move on from former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, they sent three first-round picks to the Houston Texans to acquire Deshaun Watson before handing him a five-year, NFL-record $230 million fully guaranteed deal.

It remains unclear, however, how many games -- if any -- Watson will play for the Browns this upcoming season. Watson faces 24 active civil lawsuits from women who have accused him of inappropriate sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Watson has denied all wrongdoing. But the NFL is investigating whether Watson violated its code of conduct policy.

Whatever happens with Watson, Cleveland boasts a roster around him that is Super Bowl-caliber.

QUARTERBACK (2): Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brissett

If Watson is in fact suspended, look for offseason addition Joshua Dobbs to join the active roster. But while Cleveland could ride the bulk of the season with Brissett as its starter in the event of a Watson suspension, the Browns could also look for another quarterback trade -- Baker Mayfield for Jimmy Garoppolo, anyone? -- to help the team tread water while Watson is out.