Deshaun Watson suspended six games: Browns QB ignored over personal conduct policy

A few months after trading six draft picks and committing $230 million in full guarantees to the Texans to land Deshaun Watson, the Browns have lost their star quarterback for the first six games of the 2022 season, CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson Reports. Former federal judge Sue L. Robinson ruled Monday that Watson should be suspended for six weeks after hearing testimony regarding the former Pro Bowler’s alleged off-field conduct. This offseason the QB faced civil lawsuits from 24 different women who accused him of sexual assault or misconduct.

Under the suspension, Watson will miss the following games to start Cleveland’s season: Panthers, vs. Jets vs. Steelers, at Falcons, Vs. Chargers, vs. Patriots. Their first match will be on October. 23 when the Browns meet the Ravens in Week 7.

Watson’s suspension comes after multiple reports indicated the NFL would seek at least a full-season ban for the QB, who recently reached a confidential settlement for 20 of 24 lawsuits. It marks the harshest discipline the league has imposed on a QB since Michael Vick was suspended indefinitely in 2009 before serving nearly two years in prison.

Two different Texas grand juries have declined to file criminal charges against Watson, who is accused of engaging in a pattern of sexual abuse during dozens of private massage therapy sessions. Watson himself Publicly denied any wrongdoing.Claiming through his attorney that the select sessions constituted consensual activity. But the NFL determined in its investigation that the former Clemson star had grossly violated its personal conduct policy. In Robinson’s decision, she also ruled that Watson must receive all of her massage therapy from a club therapist, according to NFL Network.

This isn’t the first time the league has suspended a QB over sexual assault allegations that didn’t lead to criminal charges, with Jameis Winston and Ben Roethlisberger serving multiple-game suspensions in 2018 and 2010, respectively. The main difference in Watson’s case has been the sheer volume of the accusers. The New York Times Reporting in June that Watson attempted sexual activity by booking with at least 66 different massage therapists over a 17-month period while playing for the Texans.

The Browns aggressively recruited and acquired Watson in March while facing 22 active cases alleging misconduct, and just days after the first grand jury declined to file criminal charges. They signed the former first-round draft pick to a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million extension as part of the trade, making the 26-year-old QB the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. One of the players. The general manager is Andrew Berry and the coach is Kevin Stefanski. Repeatedly defended Watson’s character. Since the trade, citing his own investigation into the QB’s off-field history.

Watson’s lucrative Browns contract was also structured this way. A significant suspension is expected.Almost all of his 2022 salary comes in the form of a signing bonus. Under the suspension, Watson will forfeit $333,333 in salary.

Meanwhile, Watson’s suspension has more of an impact on the field, where the Browns will be without their most valuable, polarizing addition in years. Cleveland effectively picked up former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, who is slated to start in 2018, by recruiting and rewarding Watson. Mayfield was later traded to the Carolina Panthers. Now the Browns, seemingly built to compete thanks to star power on both sides of the ball, are ready to turn the offense over to journeyman backup Jacoby Brissett, signed this offseason to replace Case Keenum. are It’s also possible Cleveland will seek outside help, perhaps through a trade, with the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo the most notable option on the market.

Watson was widely considered one of the top young QBs in the NFL before his alleged off-field violations saw him miss the entire 2021 season, while the Texans sought a trade. was on paid leave from He helped lead Houston to a pair of winning records from 2017-2020, throwing a career-high 33 touchdowns in his final season on the field.

Watson has the right to appeal his suspension, but the NFLPA announced in a statement on the occasion of the decision that he would not. He also asked the NFL not to appeal. Any appeal will ultimately be decided by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who appears unlikely to significantly reduce his sentence. (Goodell had reduced Roethlisberger’s and Vick’s suspensions after earlier personal meetings, but a different severity in Watson’s case.) The NFLPA is in light of alleged receipts by some team owners (namely Daniel Snyder of the Commanders). Can also sue the NFL for fair discipline. More lenient penalties for sexual assault allegations, but in the past, suspension lawsuits have only proven to delay, significantly reduce or eliminate NFL discipline.