The AFC North has gone through an overhaul recently. Gone is Ben Roethlisberger for the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Deshaun Watson becomes the latest quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. While the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens remain contenders within the division, the Browns’ 2022 season hinges on the future of their quarterback.
As every NFL fan knows, Deshaun Watson faces a suspension from the league, and the question is how many games he could miss in 2022. Everyone has their estimations and guesses, but a recent Washington Post report suggests Watson could be suspended for an entire year.
Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports the NFL will argue that Watson should receive a “significant” suspension, and that the league “probably” will ask for a one-year banishment.
This per ProFootballTalk:
Per Maske, NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler has become involved in the case. The league reportedly is concerned that Kessler will push for no discipline at all.
Maske confirms our report that, in defending Watson, the NFLPA will point to the punishments imposed (or not) on Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to support the argument that Watson’s punishment, if any, should reflect the consequences those owners received — especially since the Personal Conduct Policy warns that owners are held to a higher standard than players.
Maske adds that the league would like to have the situation fully resolved before training camp opens, but that the approach taken by Watson and the NFLPA could delay the outcome. Don’t blame Watson if that happens, NFL. You’ve had months to investigate the situation and to make a decision. When the time comes for Watson and the NFLPA to present a defense, it should take whatever amount of time it needs to take. And that should have been factored into the timing of the initiation of the process.
Per Maske, the league could impose discipline against Watson based on currently available information, with the understanding that further discipline could be imposed if new information surfaces. That could get tricky for the league. If, for example, he’s suspended eight games and proceeds to lose any, some, or all of the 24 (soon to be 26) lawsuits pending against him, the NFL surely wouldn’t be able to suspend him again simply because juries believe the testimony of the plaintiffs and impose verdicts against Watson. There would have to be something truly new — new claims, new evidence. Something that the league didn’t already know or that it shouldn’t have known, through reasonable investigative steps.
At this point, all of this is purely speculation, but you can expect more news on this to heat up as summer, and training camps, approach in the month of July. In the meantime, the rest of the AFC North will be looking at this situation closely, knowing how it will impact their favorite teams in 2022.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for their return to Saint Vincent College for training camp starting July 26th.