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#pounditTuesday, August 16, 2022

Deshaun Watson

Report: Browns have surprising stance on Jimmy Garoppolo trade

Jimmy Garoppolo at a press conference

Jan 27, 2020; Miami, FL, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during Super Bowl LIV Opening Night at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are facing the possibility of having to play the 2022 season without Deshaun Watson. A new report suggests that Watson’s situation still may not change their thinking about how the quarterback position is handled.

In an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Monday, NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport questioned reports linking the Browns with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Rapoport said he has not gotten the sense that the Browns are particularly interested in Garoppolo. He believes the Browns are prepared to stick with Jacoby Brissett if necessary.

“I just don’t get the sense that the Browns are that interested,” Rapoport said. “They signed Jacoby Brissett for a reason. If they trade for Jimmy G, it’s $20-plus million more dollars. I’ve checked with everyone. Maybe something will surprise me. I just do not get the sense there’s that much interest.”

Reports had emerged last week that Garoppolo would likely be a target for the Browns if Watson is suspended for a year, which looks increasingly likely to happen. Rapoport certainly does not seem to be buying that narrative.

The Browns signed Brissett to a one-year deal in March and look ready to stand behind him. The 29-year-old has started sporadically during his career, often with the Indianapolis Colts. Brissett does have two essentially full seasons as a starter under his belt, putting together limited success with 31 total touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Jaguars fans had profane chant for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson at the Pro Bowl

Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson (4) during AFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson still does not know how many games he will be permitted to play in this season, but there is one thing the star quarterback can be certain of — he is going to hear it from fans whenever the Cleveland Browns are on the road.

Watson started Friday night’s preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. He was greeted with some profane chants, one of which was “You sick f—!” You can see the video below, but beware that it contains inappropriate language.

That type of heckling was expected, especially since Watson spent his first four NFL seasons in the AFC South with the Houston Texans. Assuming he is not suspended for all of 2022, he will probably hear much worse when the regular season begins.

Watson looked rusty in his Browns debut. He completed just one pass for 7 yards and did not play much. The 26-year-old has been suspended for six games, but the NFL appealed the decision. It is widely believed that he will miss more games than that.

Report: 1 outcome viewed as ‘slam dunk’ in Deshaun Watson appeal

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

An independent disciplinary officer ruled that Deshaun Watson should be suspended six games after the quarterback was accused of sexual misconduct by 25 different women, but there is a growing belief that the final penalty will be much harsher than that.

The NFL has appealed Judge Sue. L. Robinson’s decision. Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, who helped write the NFL’s current personal conduct policy, to hear the appeal. The league is reportedly seeking a suspension of at least a full year. One source told Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network that a one-year suspension is a “slam dunk.”

Another source said it is possible that Harvey will double the length of the original suspension and ban Watson for 12 games in addition to levying a fine of $8 million or more. Whatever the outcome, the NFL Players Association can drag out the saga longer by filing a temporary restraining order and searching for a judge to overturn the ruling.

Watson is reportedly willing to accept an 8-game suspension and $5 million fine. A 12-game suspension could be a compromise for the two sides.

It seems inevitable that Watson’s suspension will be longer than six games. The Cleveland Browns star has one very good reason for wanting anything less than a full-year ban.

Deshaun Watson has big reason for wanting to avoid 1-year suspension

Deshaun Watson at a press conference

Mar 25, 2022; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson talks with the media during a press conference at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Following an extensive investigation, an independent arbitrator recommended a six-game suspension for Deshaun Watson over sexual assault allegations. Predictably, the NFL was quick to appeal that recommendation.

In the aftermath of the league’s appeal, Watson and his representation reportedly proposed a counter-offer. Rather than serving a one-year suspension, which is what the NFL is seeking, the Cleveland Browns quarterback said he was willing to accept an eight-game suspension. That would include incurring a fine of $5 million.

There’s a specific reason Watson is looking to avoid a one-year suspension and it has nothing to do with hurting the Browns in 2022. Rather, it has everything to do with his contract and the potential money being lost.

Despite the ongoing appeals process, the Browns opted to start Watson in their preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday night. He completed just one of his five pass attempts for seven yards before being removed from the game.

Prior to the 24-13 victory, Watson apologized to the women he “impacted” for the very first time.

“I want to say that I’m truly sorry to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation,” Watson said on the team’s in-house pregame show. “The decisions that I made in my life that put me in this position I would definitely like to have back. “But I want to continue to move forward and grow and learn and show that I am a true person of character and I am going to keep pushing forward.”

Previously, Watson had stated he had “no regrets” regarding any of his actions during massage sessions.

There is no specific deadline for Peter C. Harvey to rule on the league’s appeal, but he must work on an “expedited” basis, according to the collective bargaining agreement. A decision could come at any moment.

Could Deshaun Watson reach settlement with NFL?

Deshaun Watson at the Pro Bowl

Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson (4) during AFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has appealed the punishment Deshaun Watson received from a disciplinary officer, but things might not even have to go to a third party.

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Watson and the NFL could reach a settlement regarding the quarterback’s punishment.

The NFL conducted an investigation into Watson’s off-field behavior that led him to be named in 25 lawsuits from women accusing him of sexual misconduct. The disciplinary officer hearing the case ruled that Watson should be suspended six games. The NFL appealed the punishment, and Roger Goodell appointed Peter Harvey to hear the appeal.

Rather than have things go to the appeal, the NFL and player can still reach an agreement on their own.

The NFL reportedly wants at least a year-long suspension and big fine for Watson. Watson reportedly is willing to accept an 8-game suspension and $5 million fine. Perhaps the two parties will meet somewhere in the middle.

Report: Deshaun Watson makes compromise offer on suspension

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson is reportedly lobbying the NFL for a compromise on his suspension with the league seeking a one-year ban.

Watson has offered to accept an eight-game suspension and $5 million fine from the NFL, according to Rob Maaddi and Tom Withers of the Associated Press. Watson would be willing to accept the settlement in order to avoid the risk of missing the entire 2022 season.

The report states that it is not clear if the NFL would be willing to consider a settlement, or whether the two sides are even in active discussions regarding one.

The penalty Watson is willing to accept is stiffer than the one initially handed down by NFL arbitrator Sue L. Robinson. Watson was originally suspended for six games and did not receive a fine. The league is looking to change both of those things in its appeal.

Watson’s camp clearly thinks the original penalty has no chance of being upheld and is trying to do damage control. That may prove difficult, especially if the NFL has firm backing to hand down a more severe penalty.

Report: Browns may trade for 1 QB if Watson suspension is extended

Deshaun Watson at a press conference

Mar 25, 2022; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson talks with the media during a press conference at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns may be forced to change their stance on their quarterback situation depending on the resolution of the Deshaun Watson suspension.

The Browns would consider trading for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo if NFL designee Peter C. Harvey significantly extends Watson’s suspension, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. The league is seeking a one-year suspension for Watson, which would likely prompt action from the Browns on the trade market.

A Garoppolo trade would make a lot of sense for Cleveland if Watson is suspended for the season. The Browns were prepared to go with Jacoby Brissett for a few games, but relying on him for an entire season is a different proposition.

This situation would certainly play out nicely for the 49ers, who had been waiting and hoping that someone would need a quarterback. It is not clear what the Browns would have to give up to get Garoppolo, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

The 30-year-old Garoppolo threw 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2021, tallying 3,810 passing yards en route to an NFC Championship appearance.

Browns to start Deshaun Watson despite looming suspension

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are preparing as if Deshaun Watson will be playing for them even though he is expected to be suspended.

The Browns on Wednesday announced that Watson will start Friday’s preseason game at the Jacksonville Jaguars. This will mark Watson’s first game action (pre or regular season) with Cleveland since they acquired him in a trade with the Houston Texans.

Though Watson may get some exhibition game experience with his new team, it could be a while before he sees the field in a regular season game.

Watson has a suspension looming and is awaiting a decision from the league regarding his fate.

The NFL’s disciplinary officer suspended Watson six games for under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. The league appealed the decision and reportedly is seeking at least a year-long suspension, plus a fine.

Friday’s preseason game could give Browns fans a glimpse of what they can expect once Watson is cleared to play.

NFL owners’ reported stance on Deshaun Watson suspension revealed

Deshaun Watson on the practice field

Jun 14, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs a play during minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is unhappy with the length of the suspension that was handed down to Deshaun Watson, and it sounds like that sentiment is shared among team owners.

Disciplinary officer Judge Sue L. Robinson, who is the independent party mutually approved by both the league and NFLPA, ruled last week that Watson will be suspended for six games. Each side had 72 hours to file an appeal. Watson accepted the punishment, but the NFL has appealed. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, at least some team owners are hoping the league prevails.

Werder said he spoke with “numerous” NFL owners who feel the punishment for Watson was not harsh enough.

The NFL is said to be seeking a suspension of at least a full season. They also want Watson to be fined. Watson’s contract with the Cleveland Browns is structured in a way that he will only have to give up roughly $350,000 in salary if he is suspended for six games.

Watson has been accused of sexual assault by 24 women. He has reached settlements with 23 of them. Two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him.

Most team owners would prefer as short of a suspension as possible for one of their star players, but it is hardly a surprise that the Browns are not receiving support. Teams are already upset with them over the way they handled one aspect of the Watson trade.

NFL owners upset with Browns over 1 contract issue

Deshaun Watson at a press conference

Mar 25, 2022; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson talks with the media during a press conference at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson will not have to forfeit much money during his six-game suspension, and that apparently does not sit well with teams around the NFL.

Watson signed a massive contract extension with the Cleveland Browns after they acquired him from the Houston Texans this offseason. The deal will pay him $230 million guaranteed. His base salary for the 2022 season is just $1.035 million, however. There is a wide-ranging belief that the Browns intentionally structured the contract that way to protect Watson in the event of a suspension, as the star quarterback was facing numerous sexual assault allegations at the time he was traded to Cleveland.

According to Peter King of NBC Sports, executives around the NFL are not happy with the Browns for essentially bailing Watson out.

“One influential NFL person told me on this trip that it doesn’t sit well with the league or 31 other owners that the Browns rigged the Watson contract so that his suspension would cause him to lose only a fraction of his 2022 compensation,” King wrote.

Watson stands to lose just under $350,000 in game checks during his six-game ban. His new contract includes a $45 million signing bonus, which will not be impacted by the suspension. Teams often structure deals that way to give themselves more salary cap flexibility, but the Browns have nearly $50 million in cap space. That is by far the most in the NFL.

The length of Watson’s suspension was determined by Judge Sue L. Robinson, an independent party mutually approved by both the league and NFLPA. The NFL is unhappy with the punishment for two reasons. It sounds like those frustrations are shared by teams around the league.

H/T Bleacher Report