The Cincinnati Bengals' 2023 season was a weird one. Joe Burrow missed half the season, which meant that Jake Browning had to fill in for those games. The former Washington product did okay while playing in place of an injured Burrow, finishing with a 4-3 record and throwing for 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
When speaking to the media following the Bengals' blowout win over the Browns in a meaningless Week 18 game, Browning said that he's proven he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Jake Browning: "I think I've established I'm capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL."
Browning, who went undrafted out of Washington in 2019, hadn't played a single snap until he was thrust into action this year. He struggled in his first start against the Steelers but then helped the Bengals go on a three-game winning streak.
The wheels fell off in Week 16 when the Bengals dropped that game in embarassing fashion and then lost the next week to KC. That loss eliminated Cincinnati from the playoffs but the fact that Browning played decent enough to keep the Bengals afloat in the playoff race for as long as he did is impressive.
As far as if the former undrafted signal-caller is starting-caliber, that's tough to say. He started seven games and had more touchdowns than interceptions but the Bengals have a pretty good roster. He had Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon to help him out. What would he have been able to accomplish with fewer weapons?
Browning is an exclusive-rights free agent this offseason, meaning that he'll more than likely be a member of the Bengals again in 2024. Perhaps a team gets desperate enough that they opt to trade for Browning and if that ends up being the case, we'll see if he's starting-caliber.