Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will miss the first 11 games of the 2022 NFL season. According to a leaked copy of the decision acquired by Massachusetts-based reporter Joseph Pasteris, the six-game suspension that Watson received from a third-party judge for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy due to sexual misconduct allegations has been lengthened, while he’s also been hit with a $5 million fine.
— Joseph Pasteris (@PasterisSports) August 18, 2022
The news was confirmed by Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, Jake Trotter of ESPN, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, all of whom said that the punishment comes after the NFL and the NFLPA struck an agreement to prevent Watson from having his suspension determined via appeal.
Source says this is real. 11 games. $5M fine for Watson. https://t.co/SaMjiGlj27
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 18, 2022
The deal is being finalized. But will be done today. https://t.co/GdjfzVmSIq
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 18, 2022
BREAKING: The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to a settlement on discipline for #Browns QB Deshaun Watson, who will serve an 11-game suspension and pay a $5 million fine for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, per league source.
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) August 18, 2022
As Rapoport noted, Watson is eligible to return in Week 13, when the Browns travel to Houston to take on his old team, the Texans.
The Browns acquired Watson earlier this offseason and gave him a lucrative contract extension despite the widespread belief that he would receive some sort of punishment from the league for the more than 20 allegations he faced of sexual misconduct. While a third-party judge determined that Watson would need to miss time and that he violated the Personal Conduct Policy, the ruling was far shorter than anticipated, as Watson was given a six-game suspension with no fine.
A provision in the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement meant that the league could both appeal the decision and have the person who makes a ruling be appointed by Roger Goodell — if he wanted, Goodell could have heard the appeal on his own. Despite his looming suspension, Watson was able to make his debut for the Browns in a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 12 in which he went 1-for-5 with seven passing yards.