What should the Deshaun Watson suspension be?

At last, a franchise quarterback. Coming with strings attached, but what should the final punishment for Deshaun Watson be?

As a 21 year old that’s been following the Cleveland Browns for life, saying the words “franchise” and “quarterback” together have never really made sense in my early years. From quarterback to quarterback, they’ve never been able to finally land “the one”; until March.

The franchise-altering move of trading for star quarterback Deshaun Watson is one that I personally will never forget. While he is yet to play a down for the franchise and we still don’t know when exactly his debut is going to be, it would seemingly have to be a miracle for things not to work out here in Cleveland.

It goes without saying, however, that this is the Cleveland Browns. Crazier things have happened if for some reason Watson didn’t end up working out.

In Cleveland Browns fashion, coming with their new franchise quarterback are strings attached (a lot of them). Watson at one point had 24 sexual assault allegations pinned on him, as that number now sits at four after settling 20 of them a few weeks ago.

So, what should Sue Robinson’s final ruling be on the new star in Cleveland?

The NFL was seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one full season on Watson. Does that seem like the right choice and the most logical decision? Not at all.

I, for one, am a firm believer in the phrase “where there is smoke, there is fire”. However, there are many compelling components to this case. One of the most interesting components being what NFL Insider Josina Anderson has recently reported, stating that one of the accusers was going to “reward” her son for his silence.

To sum the situation up, the son’s mom was “initially complimentary of Watson in their conversations after the massage”, but later changed her tone once negative allegations surrounded Watson.

Again, I am not here to say what happened or what didn’t happen. Simply put, an accuser was seemingly in good standing with Watson after the massage, then changed her stance after. Similar to a few of the late accusers that decided to file a lawsuit after some accusers went on HBO for an interview, what changed? You saw other women answer questions about accusations and a potential money settlement, so you decided to join in? Doesn’t add up.

24 allegations is a lot, and I find it hard to believe 24 women would all lie about the same thing. Then again, was Watson criminally charged for any of this? Didn’t two different Grand Jurys find Watson not guilty?

While Watson did settle with 20 accusers, another interesting point I find in this case is that it was reported that the NFL was offering Watson and the NFLPA a potential 12-game suspension, and they haven’t budged at all. 12 seems a lot better to me than indefinite or a year-long suspension, but Watson and company continue to stand by their word and are confident Watson did no wrong.

The NFLPA has a very strong argument in all of this as well; we must punish both owners and players the same. How does Roger Goodell and the NFL expect to give Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots a slap on the wrist, but suspend Watson indefinitely? It just isn’t going to happen without a fight from the union.

In the case the NFL bought to the table in hearings involving the NFLPA, they provided zero evidence of the use of both force and coercion according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Laying the hammer down on Watson when you have zero evidence against him goes against anything and everything this country is supposed to stand for. I understand, that the NFL is all about protecting its image. When 24 women come together and accuse one man of such wrong-doing and that man is the face of your company, your image is on the line.

So, what should the final ruling be?

One possible suggestion is to make Watson pay back his salary last season from sitting out, and give him an additional 4-6 games to start this season. Would this decision upset people and fans throughout the NFL world? Absolutely.

No matter what the decision is, there is going to be a group of people who have a negative reaction to the final ruling. The quickest way for the league and for Watson to move on is to get Watson back on the field, something he should one hundred percent be allowed to see by Week 7.