DeShaun Watson was fined $5 million and suspended for 11 games over allegations of sexual harassment. Many advocated for a one-season ban instead. However, multiple NFL team owners reportedly pushed for Watson to receive a softer punishment..
The Cleveland Browns acquired Watson from the Houston Texans via a trade, which resulted in a five-year and fully $230 million contract. Watson’s suspension is important to the contract. As he will be suspended for a full season, Watson’s contract would toll for one season.
Simply said, the Browns have to pay their QB $40 million for six regular seasons in 2022. The contract would roll over to 2023, meaning instead of being expired after 2026, it would expire after 2027.
Many disagreed with the punishment. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called for a full-season suspension, believing Watson’s behavior was way harsher than the penalty he received.
“I think there were multiple owners who didn’t want DeShaun Watson suspended for the season, and told Roger Goodell that.” Peter King said.
Watson currently has the most expensive salary on the Browns’ roster. When he makes his debut in Week 13, it may be too late to make a postseason push. The Browns will then have no choice but to have Jacoby Brissett manage the team in Watson’s absence for the remaining games.
Watson’s sexual allegation
Watson was suspended over allegations of sexual harassment. It was reported that Watson sexually harassed 66 different women during massage sessions. He denied the allegations.
“I feel like he’s playing us,” NFL advisor on domestic violence and sexual assault cases Rita Smith told Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “He’s saying exactly what he thinks he needs to say to get on the field again.
“He’s not thinking strategically at all about ‘Did I cause harm to other people?’ He’s not questioning any of his behaviors at all. He’s absolutely certain from that last statement ‘I’ve done nothing wrong. This is all about people trying to get at me, and I just want to go play ball.’”
At first, Watson was suspended for six games on August 1 by former judge Sue L. Robinson. She said that Watson had violated the personal conduct policy by engaging in predatory and egregious conduct.
Many legal experts believed the decision was too lenient and did not address the full scope of Watson’s allegations.
After it was decreed that Watson had violated the league’s personal-conduct policy, the 26-year-old was suspended for the first 11 games of 2022. The suspension reduces his base salary to $1.035 million this season from the original $46 million.
Bad take for Browns
Four years of up-and-down play from Baker Mayfield pushed the Browns to look for an upgrade, especially at quarterback. However, Cleveland’s decision to sign Watson drew a lot of criticism, particularly from NFL agents.
“Disgusting. Complete, 100 percent franchise malpractice. Send the wrong message,” one NFL agent said. “Desperate times call for desperate measures, and (signing Watson) is as desperate as anything I’ve ever seen in the history of professional sports in this country.”
“They’ll take a really bad PR hit early on,” a different agent added.” and then he’ll throw touchdowns and everybody will forget about it.”
The Browns reached the playoffs only once in the last 19 seasons. Understandably, upgrading their quarterback department was a priority.