Though he was cleared of all criminal charges in a grand jury hearing earlier this year, Deshaun Watson will still almost certainly face a suspension to start the 2022 NFL season.
This past year, the three-time Pro-Bowl quarterback was the subject of more than 20 allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. While his criminal charges were dropped, he still faces multiple civil lawsuits.
Watson earned his full salary this past season despite not playing a single game. This coming season, the Cleveland Browns worked his contract to minimize monetary damage from any potential early-season suspension.
With this in mind, NFL insider Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports believes the NFL will issue a lengthy suspension to start the 2022 season.
He predicts that Watson will play fewer than eight games this coming season.
“Better to appear to be taking these allegations very seriously than not seriously enough, he got a full salary not to play last year and won’t lose much no matter how long he is suspended this year. Thus the only way to signal intent is with the length of the penalty. I expect it to be considerable,” La Canfora writes.
Watson signed a five-year, fully-guaranteed $230 million deal with the Browns earlier this offseason.
Clearly the Cleveland organization isn’t too concerned about a possible suspension to start the year.