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#pounditTuesday, May 28, 2024

Deshaun Watson may have 1 big incentive to accept suspension

Deshaun Watson in the rain

Jan 27, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; AFC quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) in the NFL Pro Bowl football game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson will likely be suspended at some point in the coming weeks, and there have been reports that the Cleveland Browns star plans to file a lawsuit if he does not feel the length of the ban is appropriate. However, Watson may have some serious financial incentive to accept the punishment and move on.

The NFL conducted an investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Watson and has presented findings to former U.S. district judge Sue. L. Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association as the disciplinary officer under the latest collective bargaining agreement. The NFL is said to be seeking a suspension of at least a full season. Either side can appeal if it is not satisfied with Robinson’s ruling. One recent report said Watson is planning to file a lawsuit if he is suspended for a year.

Watson’s base salary for 2022 is just over $1 million. Many believe he and the Browns intentionally structured the deal that way when Watson agreed to his $230 million, fully guaranteed extension. If Watson were forced to miss some or all of the 2022 season, his forfeited game checks would not amount to much. That is where the risk with a lawsuit comes in.

If Watson tries to sue the NFL, his case could drag into a second season the way Tom Brady’s Deflategate lawsuit did. Brady eventually lost. Should Watson sue and meet the same fate, he might have to start serving his suspension in 2023 when his base salary is $46 million.

That is something Watson will almost certainly consider. For what it’s worth, one NFL insider does not expect the suspension to be as long as many have predicted.


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