The quarterbacks still in the AFC playoffs have raised the bar significantly for the expectations of a successful Browns playoff campaign in 2024, particularly in comparison to Deshaun Watson’s performance.

In the coming year, Deshaun Watson could either reestablish himself as a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback or find himself with a contract considered the league’s least favorable. As Year 3 of the “Watson Watch” begins, Cleveland acknowledges the need for more evidence before drawing conclusions. Watson, the city’s $235 million quarterback, has only played 12 games since the Browns traded three first-round picks (five picks in total) to acquire him, primarily due to suspension and injury. His playing streaks have been limited, with a maximum of six consecutive games, and this season, he played three games while dealing with a troublesome right shoulder, resulting in small and diluted statistical samples.

While the playoffs progress this weekend, the remaining AFC quarterbacks, including Lamar Jackson of the Ravens, C.J. Stroud of the Texans, Josh Allen of the Bills, and Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs, are presenting a contrasting narrative. Cleveland might be uncertain about Watson’s performance through 12 games, but these quarterbacks have set a standard that Watson needs to meet.

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