Just weeks ahead of their July 27 training camp opening, the Cleveland Browns are still waiting to discover the playing status of their new franchise quarterback, Deshaun Watson. With the Pro Bowl QB facing suspension from the league under the Personal Conduct Policy after facing sexual misconduct charges, no one knows what to expect.
But Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal passes along word of the NFL ‘pushing for an indefinite suspension, lasting no less than one year for Watson‘.
The league’s case is centered on five of the women who have sued Watson.
“League officials believe those allegations in particular are objectively provable and establish a clear and disturbing pattern of behavior from Watson,” writes Beaton.
As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk passes along, if Watson is suspended for the full year, his contract would toll by one season. Unlike last season, this means he’d spend all of 2022 without pay. It would also push a possibly free agency back from 2027 to 2028 for Watson.
Deshaun Watson’s disciplinary hearing set for Tuesday
Obviously, an indefinite suspension isn’t what the Browns envisioned when making the decision to sign Watson to a $230 million fully-guaranteed contract, after trading three first-round selections and change for the controversial player. But that’s where the disciplinary hearing comes into play.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Deshaun Watson’s disciplinary hearing with the NFL and NFL Players Association is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, June 28. Sue L. Robinson will be the jointly appointed disciplinary officer who makes the eventual ruling, which could be as soon as a week, or even lead into training camp.
Cleveland, Watson, and the NFL all likely are hoping for a quick resolution, but whatever Robinson rules, Watson will be able to appeal the decision. In this case, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would then either make the appeal decision himself, or turn to an independent ruler once again.
Robinson has never ruled over a case involving an NFL player before, leaving everyone guessing what might happen next.