Deshaun Watson’s suspension will be extended, but not to the extent the NFL reportedly wanted.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback will miss the first 11 games of the 2022 season according to ESPN, who reported on Thursday that the league and the NFL Players Association came to an agreement on adding five games to Watson’s original six game suspension. In addition to the suspension, Watson will be fined $5 million that will go to charity.
Reports were that the NFL wanted to suspend Watson for the entire season, after appealing the original ruling from disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson. That would have triggered a lawsuit by the NFLPA in federal court, something commissioner Roger Goodell and the league may have wanted to avoid.
Watson was accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct related to massages he received from March 2020 to March 2021. Watson has settled most of those lawsuits out of court, but was still found to have violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy according to Robinson.
Watson is now scheduled to make his season debut in Week 13 vs. his former team, the Houston Texans, on the road.
Watson missed all of the 2021 season with the Texans, originally holding out for a new contract before the allegations came to light. Watson was on Houston’s 53-man roster but made inactive for every regular season game.
The news opens up the possibility that the Browns might be in the market for another stop gap quarterback, with Jacoby Brissett as the only QB on the roster with significant NFL experience. Browns reporter Mary Kay Cabot said on KNBR earlier this week that the Browns would likely look at acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo from the 49ers if Watson’s suspension were to reach double-digit games.
Garoppolo will be cut at the end of August before his contract becomes guaranteed if he is not traded.