Browns went through a lifetime of QBs during the Ben Roethlisberger era

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers were blessed to have Ben Roethlisberger for eighteen years. The Cleveland Browns were much less fortunate.

I’ve been as much of a critic of Ben Roethlisberger’s game over the past two years as anybody. In his old age, the former Pittsburgh Steelers franchise quarterback was no longer the elite signal-caller he once was. In terms of efficiency, he ranked near the bottom of the league in most advanced metrics since the 2020 season.

Despite his struggles late in his career, I certainly don’t take Big Ben for granted. So many teams have been through numerous quarterback changes over the past two decades and it’s incredibly difficult to find a franchise quarterback who can stick around long-term — let anyone one who can win a Super Bowl.

No team has had worse luck at finding their guy than the Cleveland Browns. Since Ben Roethlisberger was drafted in 2004, the Browns have blown through a whopping 28 quarterbacks who started at least one game.

The quarterback who received the most chances in Cleveland was also their most recent. While no other QB started more than 31 games for the Browns since 2004, Baker Mayfield started 59 since being selected with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Unfortunately, for Browns fans, they didn’t get the fairytale ending they were hoping for. The future seemed to be very bright during the 2020 post-season after Cleveland put a beating on the Steelers. However, it was all downhill from there.

Recently, the Browns traded a disgruntled Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers. After dealing with injuries and inconsistencies, the former top draft choice will look to revive his fallen career.

This offseason, Cleveland executed a blockbuster trade for three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, Deshaun Watson. While it seems like the Browns finally found their guy who can put up a fight with the Steelers in the AFC North over the next decade, it all comes down to his availability.

Browns could finally have a better QB than the Steelers

There’s no doubt that Deshaun Watson is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL when he’s on the field. I would confidently slide him inside the top-10 among current NFL quarterbacks, and there are times when his play nears the top-5 level.

The biggest question with Watson comes with his availability in the near future. It’s unlikely that the Browns would have forked up as much guaranteed money as they did for Watson if they thought there was a chance that he was never going to be allowed to play football again.

While the Browns are likely bracing themselves for what could be a lofty suspension, it does appear that he will be the quarterback of the future. If this proves to be the case, Cleveland might actually have a quarterback who can stick around longer than four years.

Even on a bad Texans roster, Watson was a major threat thanks to his impressive arm and ability to extend the play. His 104.5 career passer rating is currently on track to be one of the best in NFL history, via Pro Football Reference.

Watson wasn’t permitted to play in 2021 because of his pending civil cases; however, in 2020, he threw for 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while leading the NFL in passing yards (4,823), yards per attempt (8.9), and yards per completion (12.9). It only stands to reason that he could be just as good (if not better) in the prime of his career on a more talented Browns roster.

Trending. 5 Steelers that will have better statistics during the 2022 season. light

Watson still needs to prove himself on a new team and with some baggage on the side, but the Browns could actually have a quarterback better than the Steelers for once, and one who could stick around long-term. After going through 28 different starters during the Ben Roethlisberger era, Cleveland was due to find a QB sooner or later.