The Cleveland Browns knew going into the Deshaun Watson move that there were 22 reasons it could possibly go wrong.
And because of that, it looks like the club put some provisions into his massive five-year, $230 million fully-guaranteed deal to protect itself should something go awry.
A couple weeks ago, Browns GM Andrew Berry eluded to “typical club protections” in the contract.
Two weeks ago, Browns G.M. Andrew Berry said the Deshaun Watson contains “typical club protections” in the event of suspension. In reality, Watson’s deal includes an express exception for matters disclosed to the team in writing (i.e., the 22 lawsuits). https://t.co/l9oLam2pfA
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 8, 2022
However, NBC Sports has reportedly obtained a copy of the contract; and the network laid out exactly what protections there are.
According to NBC, each of the guaranteed payments and signing bonus includes language exempting from any potential default a suspension imposed by the NFL. “Solely in connection with matters disclosed to Club in writing pursuant to paragraph 42 and such suspension results in Player’s unavailability to Club solely for games during the 2022 or 2023 NFL League Years.”
In paragraph 42, Watson ‘represents and warrants (except as disclosed to club in writing), as of the date hereof, that (i) Player has not been charged with, indicted for, convicted of or pled nolo contender to any felony and/or misdemeanor involving fraud or moral turpitude, (ii) Player has not engaged in conduct which would subject him to a charge, indictment or conviction of any such offense, and (iii) no circumstances exist that would prevent Player’s continuing availability to the Club for the duration of this Contract.’
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) April 9, 2022
All that said, NBC notes that if Deshaun Watson were to admit to sexual encounters with any or all of the accusers, and get suspended for it; the Browns could possibly have grounds to void the QB’s guarantees and/or try to recover some of the signing bonus it paid out.
The language in the agreement between Watson and the team also presumes he will be suspended within the next two seasons.
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