Multiple owners didn’t want Watson suspended for entire season?


The Cleveland Browns didn’t just controversially trade with the Houston Texans for quarterback Deshaun Watson in March even though his status for the 2022 NFL season and beyond was very much up in the air over allegations of sexual misconduct during massage sessions. Cleveland then made history by handing Watson a record-breaking $230 million contract with all of that money fully guaranteed.

It was learned earlier this month that the NFL and NFL Players Association reached an agreement for Watson to ultimately serve an 11-game suspension regarding the sexual-misconduct allegations even though the league wanted him to sit out the entire 2022 campaign. It appears the length of that ban could be directly related to the contract he signed with the Browns. 

For his “Football Morning in America” column published early on Monday, NBC Sports’ Peter King reported that “a prominent team executive” remarked that “multiple owners” told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell they didn’t want Watson suspended for an entire season. 

“If Watson was banned for the year, his contract would have rolled over into 2023, and the Browns would have had him for an extra season—through the 2027 season,” King explained. “By Watson playing part of this season, his contract now expires after the 2026 season, and the Browns will owe him $40 million for being eligible to play a meager six games in 2022. 

“The way NFL contracts work is if a player doesn’t play in a season because he either chooses to sit out or is suspended for the year, the contract ‘tolls,’ or is pushed back one season.”

It was previously reported that owners throughout the NFL were upset that the Browns gave Watson $230 million in fully-guaranteed cash and that the franchise also allegedly “rigged the Watson contract so that his suspension would cause him to lose only a fraction of his 2022 compensation.” Watson’s base salary for 2022 is set at $1.035 million per the terms of the deal. 

Backup Jacoby Brissett will temporarily shift to the top of the depth chart once Watson begins serving his suspension on Tuesday. 


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