Officially, Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson is suspended for the first six games of the 2022 NFL regular season. Watson will be able to practice in training camp and play in preseason games before the suspension starts. The financial impact on Watson is minimal.
With the new collective bargaining agreement, Watson can return to practice with the team in Week 4 before returning to games in Week 7.
We say officially because both the NFL and the NFLPA hold the right to appeal Judge Sue Robinson’s decision. The NFLPA has already announced that their side would not do so but the NFL is mulling whether they will.
There may be reasons for an appeal to be filed starting with the league’s belief that Watson should have been suspended for at least a season. Robinson’s ruling could back that up as she noted that the NFL proved all three charges against the quarterback.
The NFL may have reasons to not appeal as well including not wanting to undermine the new process with Robinson and wanting to avoid an extended legal battle in federal court should Watson file a lawsuit:
From Inside Training Camp: Still no decision from the NFL on a Deshaun Watson appeal pic.twitter.com/uJxcqT0VBw
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 3, 2022
If the NFL appeals, it is all but certain that Watson will get a significant upgrade to the discipline. It seems likely that Watson’s side would then follow Tom Brady’s process and file a lawsuit which could allow the quarterback to start in Week 1.
A lot of uncertainty right now but the NFL has until Thursday to make its decision. We will know for sure in about 24 hours.