Deshaun Watson agrees to settlement with NFL on suspension
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has successfully negotiated a settlement with the NFL that will allow him to play at least some part of the 2022 season.
As first reported by NFL reporter Joseph Pasteris, Watson will be suspended for the first 11 games of the regular season, and fined $5 million. Watson’s fine will donated to non-profit organizations combatting sexual assault, with the Browns and the NFL each contributing $1 million as well. The penalties were confirmed by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
— Joseph Pasteris (@PasterisSports) August 18, 2022
Watson has also agreed to undergo mandatory evaluation and treatment by behavioral experts.
An 11-game suspension would allow Watson to be reinstated on November 28. That would allow Watson to play all six December games, including divisional games against Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. He would also be allowed to play in the playoffs if the Browns qualify. Notably, his first game back would be a road game against the Houston Texans, his former team.
The suspension is significantly longer than the initial six-game ban handed down by NFL arbitrator Sue L. Robinson. However, it is significantly less than the year-long ban the NFL was seeking. The final agreement is essentially a compromise between what the NFL wanted and what Watson had reportedly proposed.
Watson faced sexual assault allegations from numerous masseuses stemming from his time with the Texans, which led the league to seek strict discipline under the Personal Conduct Policy.