The NFLPA, NFL and Deshaun Watson have reached a settlement that will allow Watson to play a handful of games after a 11-game suspension, $5 million fine, and Mandatory counseling for personal conduct policy violations stemming from sexual assault allegations made by 30 massage therapists in the Houston area, per Pro Football Talk.
The NFL’s arbiter, Judge Sue Robinson, recommended a six-game suspension based on the precedent set by other cases where the NFL suspended players for sexual abuse. The NFL wanted much more, reportedly hoping for a year suspension along with a fine. But, a settlement assures that this case won’t be dragged out in court.
Houston traded Watson and a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for 2022, 2023 and 2024’s first round picks; a third-round pick in 2022; and a fourth-round pick in 2024. Watson then signed a 5 year, $230 million contract with the Browns, including a $44.9 million signing bonus, an amazing $230 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $46 million. Guaranteeing his whole contract was an unprecedented move, especially when you don’t consider the allegations made against him.
Since Watson won’t be suspended for the whole season, he will be able to continue practicing and playing in preseason games. This was likely a big reason Watson and the NFLPA wanted to negotiate a settlement, giving Watson more time with the team in preseason and giving him more of a shot at being effective in the last six games of the season.
Watson will return Week 13, in the Texans 12th game of the year, when they will face Watson’s old team, the Houston Texans.