Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is going to be suspended — it’s just a matter of how many games. Watson, who is facing a potential year-long suspension, is willing to accept a lesser suspension to avoid missing the entire 2022 NFL season.
Per Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, Watson would agree to an eight-game suspension and $5 million fine. Watson is open to a settlement, although it’s unclear if the league is willing to compromise.
Watson was handed a six-game suspension last week for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The NFL has formally decided to appeal retired federal judge Sue L. Robinson’s ruling. The league is hoping for a more severe punishment, reportedly the full regular season and postseason as well as a fine north of the $5 million Watson would be willing to accept.
Asked Tuesday why the league opted to appeal, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell pointed to the evidence presented during Watson’s disciplinary hearing. Watson was accused of sexual assault and misconduct during massage sessions by 25 women. All of the incidents occurred between March 2020-March 2021 while he was a member of the Houston Texans.
“We’ve seen the evidence, she was very clear about the evidence, she reinforced the evidence,” Goodell said, via ESPN. “There were multiple violations that were egregious and it was predatory behavior.”
Deshaun Watson Moving Forward Amid Suspension
While it remains unlikely Watson is under center in Week 1 of the regular season, he will feature during Cleveland’s first preseason game Friday. The team announced Wednesday that Watson will start on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Watson will play alongside most of the staters, before making way for Jacoby Brissett. Brissett is set to get a six-game run as starter to open the season. The veteran backup was brought in this offseason on a one-year, $4.65 million deal.
If Watson is suspended longer, however, Cleveland could look for outside reinforcements. There are rumblings the Browns could trade for the San Francisco 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo, who is on the trade market. The 49ers are entering the Trey Lance era and can save $25.55 million in cap space by cutting or trading Garoppolo.