The Deshaun Watson scandal has reached a final decision. The Cleveland Browns’ quarterback will be suspended for 11 games and fined $5 million by the NFL
The scandal-scarred quarterback would be eligible to return on Dec. 4 when the Browns play the Texans in Houston, where Watson was drafted and played before being dealt to Cleveland in the offseason.
Watson was was accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct during massage sessions while with the Texans. Houston elected not to play him last season as the accusations mounted.
The settlement between league and the NFL Players Association avoids a ruling from former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey, whom Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed to oversee the NFL’s appeal of disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson’s decision that Watson be issued a six-game suspension.
The league reportedly had been seeking an indefinite suspension and a fine, which prompted their appeal of the initial six-game ban.
Now official: pic.twitter.com/No69pLnntz
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 18, 2022
Watson will lose 11-17th of his 2022 salary, which is $1 million. The 11 games were critical to Watson’s salary going forward. In order to get credit for an accrued season, a player needs to play 6 games.
In order to accrue a season, a player must be on (or should have been on) full pay status for six or more regular season games.
The Browns signed Watson to a five-year, $230 million deal but created a contract that had their new quarterback earning $1 million in 2022 in anticipation of the suspension. The remaining four years of his fully guaranteed pact call for a salary of $35 million per season.
So, Watson avoids a gigantic salary hit while absorbing a fine of $5 million.
Cleveland traded incumbent Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers last month and will enter the regular season with Jacoby Brissett as its starting quarterback.