Four years after indirectly denouncing the Browns for passing on him at the top of the 2018 NFL Draft, Josh Rosen has landed in Cleveland as quarterback insurance, joining his sixth team in five seasons. Even after trading former No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield, the Browns have two established names under center in Deshaun Watson and Jacoby Brissett. But Watson is facing a potentially severe NFL suspension and Brissett is the only other arm on the roster with starting experience. So Rosen is coming aboard on a one-year deal ahead of training camp, as CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reported Thursday and the team made official on Friday.
Rosen was in town earlier Thursday to work out alongside free agent reserve AJ McCarron, with the Browns scouting additional QB options. Rosen was notably considered one of the top signal-callers of the 2018 class when Cleveland drafted Mayfield, ultimately going No. 10 overall to the Cardinals. Now he’s slated to open camp competing with former Steelers backup Joshua Dobbs for the Browns’ No. 3 job, behind Watson and Brissett.
It’s possible, if not probable, that Rosen could open the 2022 season as the team’s primary backup, with Watson expected to be suspended for his alleged pattern of sexual assault and/or misconduct while playing for the Texans. The Browns could still explore a trade for 49ers veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, but if Watson isn’t suspended for the entire 2022 campaign, all signs point to Cleveland leaning on Brissett, who’s started for the Patriots, Colts and Dolphins during his career, as an emergency fill-in.
Rosen, 25, has yet to remain with a team for more than a single season. The former UCLA QB went 3-10 as a starter for the rebuilding Cardinals as a rookie, and was traded to the Dolphins the following offseason as Arizona prepared to draft current starter Kyler Murray. He managed just one touchdown and five interceptions in three starts for Miami, then bounced between the Buccaneers, 49ers and Falcons as a backup from 2020-2021.