Deshaun Watson’s status for the 2022 season may soon be known by the Cleveland Browns. According to ESPN and confirmed by CBS Sports NFL expert Jonathan Jones, Watson’s NFL disciplinary hearing will start on Tuesday. The hearing will be presided over by Sue L. Robinson, the jointly appointed disciplinary officer for the NFL and NFLPA. The NFL and NFLPA may both choose to appeal Robinson’s decision. Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, has two options for handling the appeal: he can either decide himself or appoint a third party.
The Houston Texans player, who already faced 24 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault during massage sessions while playing for them, is reportedly facing a “lengthy” punishment from the NFL. Twenty of such suits have been chosen by Watson. Two Texas grand juries earlier this offseason decided not to indict Watson on any criminal charges despite his denial of any wrongdoing.
Browns General Manager Andrew Berry answered inquiries regarding a potential punishment involving their new quarterback at Watson’s opening press conference in Cleveland. Berry stated that the team and the NFL have had and would have open lines of contact. Berry emphasized that Watson’s compensation, which includes a $1 million basic pay for the 2022 season, is intended to give the organization flexibility rather than to shield them from a potential ban. After acquiring Watson, the Browns gave him a five-year, $230 million contract with a full guarantee.
In the event that Watson is suspended, the Browns have a number of options. This offseason, the team added veterans Joshua Dobbs and Jacoby Brissett. In addition, Baker Mayfield, who has publicly requested a trade, is still under contract with Cleveland.
Watson would probably be found to have broken the league’s code of conduct policy if suspended. In an effort to encourage better player conduct off the field, the NFL implemented the policy in 2007. Ezekiel Elliott, a current Cowboys running back, was suspended for one of the most remarkable periods of time. Despite the NFL’s main investigator in the matter apparently advising against a suspension, Elliott was given a six-game ban in 2017. The Cowboys missed the playoffs a year after finishing 13-3 because to Elliott’s injury.
Watson would miss home games against the Jets, Steelers, Chargers, and Patriots as well as road games at Carolina and Atlanta if his suspension is for the first six games. In Week 7, he would play in Baltimore against the Ravens as his first game back. The following weekend, he faced the Cincinnati Bengals, the reigning AFC champions, in his first home game as the Browns’ quarterback.