Well, it looks as if the Deshaun Watson mess the NFL and NFLPA have been dealing with for seemingly forever is finally coming to its conclusion. After all the reports, cases being settled and rulings being released, Watson, and by proxy the NFLPA, and the NFL have agreed on a settlement.
What is the settlement?
An 11-game suspension with a $5 million dollar fine.
BREAKING: The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to a settlement on discipline for #Browns QB Deshaun Watson, who will serve an 11-game suspension and pay a $5 million fine for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, per league source.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) August 18, 2022
The 11-game suspension was much higher than Judge Sue Robinson’s 6-game suggested suspension filed, with no fine, just a few weeks ago. Some will see this settlement as more appropriate, while others will feel as if it still isn’t enough.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Watson was willing to pay even more of a fine if he meant he could return to the Browns around midseason. When you are guaranteed $250 million dollars, a $5 million dollar fine might feel like a drop in the proverbial bucket.
What became clear in Deshaun Watson settlement talks, per sources, is Watson was open to paying a hefty fine to see the field as soon as possible. That was the goal. And got the sense he would have paid more than $5M to be eligible for half the season.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 18, 2022
So, with Watson out of the lineup until Week 13, the Browns have a bye week in Week 9, who will be the opponent he faces first? You guessed it — the Houston Texans.
As for the AFC North, Watson will play all three division opponents once after he returns.
Week 14: @ Cincinnati Bengals
Week 15: vs. Baltimore Ravens
Week 18: @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The final ruling/settlement on Watson is over, and now starts the reaction to said ruling. As you can imagine, no length of suspension and/or fine would have satisfied everyone, but a precedence has been clearly set for future cases.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they break camp and prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 of the NFL Preseason.