In the wake of new civil lawsuits being filed against him, the matter of guaranteed compensation in Deshaun Watson‘s contract has come into question. In response to the potential uncertainty, the team remains fully committed to the beleaguered quarterback.
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that the team is not looking to void his contract – a fully-guaranteed, $230MM deal signed upon his trade from the Texans. The possibility of the Browns considering doing so came up not long after a 24th suit was filed, adding to the allegations made against him which are separate from the initial 22 in place at the time the contract was signed.
As Cabot details, however, “nothing has transpired… that has caused the Browns to change their view of Watson” in a way which would lead them to try and void the contract. In much the same vein, she further states that the team is not currently looking to nullify the trade with Houston that saw six total picks (including three first-rounders) sent to the Texans.
“The Browns and all of us that know Deshaun are still totally behind him” as stated by his attorney, Rusty Hardin. “These latest claims by [plaintiffs’ attorney Tony] Buzbee change nothing, and they are totally false, and that will ultimately be what everyone concludes when they hear the evidence.”
The ongoing lawsuits Watson faces – which now include the Texans as well – will be paused until the conclusion of the upcoming NFL season, barring settlement deals being made. A suspension is expected to be handed down sometime in July, though the door remains open to further punishment, pending the outcome of the civil trials. For now, at least, the Browns are prepared to move forward with Watson as their franchise signal-caller, regardless of the backlash associated with doing so.