The representatives of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, the NFL and NFLPA were reportedly close to a settlement in negotiations to agree on appropriate discipline for the controversial quarterback this week, but those discussions did not end in an agreement.
According to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, talks of a disciplinary settlement “fell apart” this week after the parties could not agree on the number of games Watson should be suspended.
While Watson has maintained his innocence with regards to the sexual assault and misconduct allegations against him, he seems to have accepted the reality of the situation by settling 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits against him earlier this week.
Having his team enter into negations with the NFL and NFLPA about his discipline from football appears to be the next step in that process, and negotiating punishment with the league and union is not necessarily unheard of. The NFLPA reportedly intends to vigorously defend Watson in light of what it perceived to be light punishment for NFL owners that have committed related offenses.
A deal would not only waive Watson’s right to appeal rendering the punishment final, but also allow the NFL to bring the messy saga to a somewhat quicker resolution.
After acquiring him in a huge trade from the Houston Texans earlier this offseason, the Browns signed Watson to a new five-year, $230 million contract that is structured in such a way as to minimize the potential salary impacts of Watson potentially serving a suspension in the 2022 season. The NFL seeing that contract as an attempt to circumvent league discipline, and attempting to find a way to hold Watson fiscally accountable instead of merely keeping him from playing in a certain number of games.