Cleveland Browns kicking themselves over preseason trade

The Cleveland Browns had the perfect backup...and traded him away

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages

You know who the Cleveland Browns could really use right about now? Joshua Dobbs. As a matter of fact, given the injury issues starting quarterback Deshaun Watson has faced almost the entire season, the Browns could have used Joshua Dobbs a long time ago.

Wait, what was that? Come again? You mean to tell me Joshua Dobbs was on the Cleveland Browns' roster this year?

For those who may have forgotten, the Cleveland Browns have had Joshua Dobbs on their roster not once but twice. Dobbs was with Cleveland for a spell in 2022 before he got the chance to go start some meaningful games late in the season with the Tennessee Titans. The Browns brought him back in the 2023 offseason and shipped him off to the Arizona Cardinals on the eve of the 2023 season.

The Browns were offered a fifth-round pick for Dobbs, a pretty good return on investment all things considered. But the cost of trading him at this point could be detrimental to their hopes of returning to the playoffs.

For the second consecutive season, the Browns are only going to get six games out of Deshaun Watson. That's 12 games in two years, and $230 million fully guaranteed. Ouch. Ouch.

The Browns can't be scolded too harshly for trading away Joshua Dobbs when they had the chance. There are likely very few NFL teams with three quarterbacks they like that would pass up on the chance to get a 5th-round pick for someone they didn't intend to keep on the roster. But perhaps the story of Joshua Dobbs is a lesson to be learned league-wide more than it is a lesson to be learned for teams like the Cleveland Browns or Arizona Cardinals at this point.

Dobbs, whose physical skills have never been an issue, and whose mental capacity as a literal rocket scientist is nothing to be questioned, has been one of the best stories of the entire 2023 NFL season. People seem to think that Dobbs has only played well in his limited action with the Vikings, but that's only because nobody was really paying attention to the Arizona Cardinals this year.

When Dobbs was with Arizona, he was playing the best football we've seen from him in the NFL. Did it translate to many wins? No, only one (against the Dallas Cowboys) but Dobbs and the Cardinals gave teams more fits than anyone anticipated. And for whatever reason, the Vikings were the only QB-needy team at the trade deadline to take it seriously. Kudos to their pro scouting department.

And I guess, shame on the Cleveland Browns's pro scouting department, for that matter. Deshaun Watson was far from a sure thing going into this season regardless of his health, but when he started struggling with injuries, the Browns turned to Dorian Thompson-Robinson and were burned badly. Luckily, PJ Walker was available to keep the ship afloat, but how long is that going to last? There are nine games left this season.


The Browns will try to ride their top-ranked defense to some low-scoring wins as the season progresses, but they've got two immediate matchups against the Steelers and Broncos, two defenses that are making life miserable for opposing QBs.

If only they had someone like Joshua Dobbs to give them some upside...

Latest 2024 NFL mock draft. dark. Next. Latest 2024 NFL mock draft