Watson suspension increased to 11 games, $5 million fine as NFL & NFLPA reach agreement

Watson suspension increased to 11 games
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson looks to throw during NFL football practice in Berea, Ohio, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

The Deshaun Watson controversy has officially come to a close. 

According to reports the NFL and NFLPA agreed on a disciplinary agreement to suspend the Browns quarterback for 11 games. Watson will also be fined $5 million as part of the disciplinary settlement. 

The league’s settlement is an increase from the independent arbitrator’s six-game suspension handed down two weeks ago. 

Judge Sue Robinson levied the suspension without a fine, although said in the report that the former Texans signal-caller violated the personal conduct policy for “predatory” behavior. The ruling closes an extremely controversial chapter regarding the new-Browns quarterback. Watson had been accused of sexual misconduct by over 20 women in different massage parlors. The quarterback has since reached settlements with all of his accusers. 

The NFL, per the disciplinary ruling of the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2020 appealed the ruling & the two sides met in hopes of finding common ground on a settlement. If not, appointed appeals arbitrator Peter Harvey would make a decision. 

The NFL had originally asked for a full-year suspension and substantial fine as early as last week.  

Watson’s punishment is one of the largest disciplinary rulings on a player for assault accusations since Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely back in 2014. Watson is expected to make his return to the Browns in week 13 against the Houston Texans: the team that traded the quarterback back in March. 

While the latest report means that Watson will play in the 2022 season, he is set to miss close to three-quarters of the NFL season for a team that traded for him and gave him a $230 million, fully guaranteed contract. As part of his contract with the Browns though, a significant portion of his contract will not be affected by the suspension. 

Deshaun recently apologized last week for his behavior, a change from his stance of defying he did anything wrong. 

For the Browns, backup Jacoby Brissett is expected to start for the team while Watson serves his suspension. 

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